January '18

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82 • RV PRO • January 2018 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S since the event migrated to the strip and the timing moved a little farther from the late fall selling season. For 2017, Ingrassia says attendance was up about 3 percent, with about 1,400 on-hand, including dealers and exhibitors. One of the factors in this year's growth was a larger-than- usual group from the RVDA of Canada's Quebec contingency. This increase in registration led to a number of sessions and classes being translated into French. "We hope to build on this once we get into the Paris next year," Ingrassia says. Down to Business Although there was plenty of enjoyment to be had at this year's show, it was obvious from the tone set during Wednes- day's Annual Meeting that there were plenty of serious issues to be addressed by delegates. For the past two years, previous RVDA chairmen of the board Brian Wilkins and Darrel Friesen made it their mission to raise the profile of many dealerships having trouble receiving parts – and especially warranty parts – in a timely fashion. This issue has been largely a product of the growing popu- larity of RVing and the manufacturers ramping up production to keep up with demand. This production schedule demands that the majority of parts go to manufacturers, so they can get units out to the public. Dealers often are reduced to scavenging parts from RVs on their sales lots to repair those other vehicles and get them back on the road. During his term, Friesen established an industry-wide task force to try to eliminate any bottlenecks while ensuring rela- tionships among dealers, manufacturers and suppliers didn't become frayed by the conflict. He also called for establishing a uniform set of parts numbers to help eliminate any confusion. "I regret that during my time as chairman we didn't achieve our vision of an easy-to-use Internet parts portal from the manu- facturers and suppliers, and I would have liked for the task force to have started tackling warranty and quality control issues," he says. "But I found – no doubt like every chairman before me – that when you have people from all different segments of the industry sitting down to work on an issue … things move a little slower than when you're the dealer principal making all of the decisions at your own business." Fortunately for the industry, new Chairman Tim Wegge of Burlington RV Superstore in Sturtevant, Wis., has taken up the mantle of fixing the parts delivery issue as one of his priorities for the coming year, as well. "I have real optimism with the parts issues group that Gary Enyart (of Cummins Onan) helped put together," Ingrassia says. "Darrel was instrumental in moving that forward after Brian put it on the map. (Friesen, Wegge) and I had a retreat recently to make sure there was a smooth transition." PHOTOS BY TRAVIS O. PRYOR A group of dealers enjoy themselves at Margaritaville during an event sponsored by American Guardian.

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