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Old 03-06-2015, 05:20 AM   #1
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Ideas for improving quality

When we were talking to Andy Cripe (president of Crossroads) at the Tampa RV show, the subject of quality came up. Andy is working hard to try to improve the quality of the product, and lamented (about the workers) "If I could only find a way to make them care".

We care about the company and the products, and to that end, I am preparing a document to give to Andy the next time we see him (at the factory rally). I am collecting a list of suggestions, ideas, etc. to help improve the product quality. We have come up with several suggestions already, and we got some good ones from a friend who is retired from management in the auto industry.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas to add to the list, that would be great.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:41 AM   #2
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How about an employee bonus plan based on customer feedback received via questionnaires sent to buyers after their first year of ownership.
-Also, eliminate the requirement to build X number of units a day regardless of quality. Make quality an acceptance criteria before the unit is included in daily count. This will also require a thorough, meaningful quality check of each unit.
Provide clear build drawings for employees so quality is repeatable.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jerry Pinkard View Post
How about an employee bonus plan based on customer feedback received via questionnaires sent to buyers after their first year of ownership.
-Also, eliminate the requirement to build X number of units a day regardless of quality. Make quality an acceptance criteria before the unit is included in daily count. This will also require a thorough, meaningful quality check of each unit.
Provide clear build drawings for employees so quality is repeatable.
x2....and give workers different torque guns,one for screwing in metal trim and a lower one for installing thin plastic bathroom skylights.....and show them why....
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:54 AM   #4
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This is not a easy solution. The problem began back with the management before Andy in CrossRoads black period. 2011 thru early 2013. This group of guys talk a good talk but failed. They increased the amount of units each group had build a day, and cut their piece rate..... What does this do tells the folks on the floor just get it out the heck with quality. This is a hard thing to overcome. I have been there. You have to start with one or two teams, get their moral back up where they care, some where on that team they have some folks who really care. Start with a reach able quality goal. I found a large board showing each teams progress in quality posted in the lunch room help foster more compition and better quality. Each team should have a experience straw boss going over the unit., and stopping production when he spots a defect. Those line people are real people. When they spot some thing bad and bring it to the supervisors attention, they need to be rewarded Paid for lunch. Remember that Quality starts at receiving. If receiving is just bringing in stuff and not checking the quality before it gets to manufacturing this can be the start of a bad employee day. At the end of the year the best team should be award. Including be included at the factory rally. This gives another opening for the factory to share their quality goals There are several other rally's around the country IE the Northeast folks, The old Texas group, and even the Louisiana Gulf Coast Camper Your district reps should attend these and get direct feed back from the end user. If you have a great dealer in the area they might attend also. Lastly you get some good letters from customers also these should be posted where the employees can read them. Or management can read them at a meeting to the employees. Remember best quality asset is their employees on the front line
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:36 AM   #5
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Working in a LARGE faceless company like I am in... much of the hooray, go team stuff, gets ignored by many...

It is a sign of the times - the work ethic - the loss of prestige - many things...
And it's not just at an rv level, it's at the level of our country and the world...

but dialing back the 'solution' to just the rv industry ?

Did you know that 19 of the first 20 mgmt employees at the Redwood subsidiary of Crossroads/Thor are no longer with the company? I ran into three of them at the Dallas RV show...

Andy Wesdorph and Tom Montague are now with Landmark and Doug Richards is over all the ExploreUSA stores in the DFW area.

Funny, when I was grossing about the issues in my unit and lack of response from my dealer to a salesmen, he asked who did I get it from...
we had been in so many rv's that day,
I hadn't looked at his badge and when I did I had to chuckle - I replied "From You !"

BUT, you are on the right track with true, quantifiable metrics and while profit sharing and the knowledge that for me to keep MY job, the company has to do well is enough for me...

another of the 'rewards' could be allowing them to stay in a unit they built every so often...

I would bet most of the line personnel have never stayed in one and if mgmt set up one at a local park and let them stay in it, it might open up some eyes... (or maybe not )
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:45 AM   #6
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Well stated Frank.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:51 AM   #7
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Wow,

First, don't me wrong, I drink the Crossroads Kool-Aid, but he sounds more like a small machine shop owner rather than a head of large manufacturer. In his defense, the whole industry suffers from this. He's got a tough job.

He needs to implement TQM (Total Quality Management) like LEAN SixSigma. If the US automakers had not got serious about this in the 80-90's, the big three wouldnt exist today (bailouts aside).

But the problem is not just the assembly guy, its the whole supply chain. How many of you out there has pieces parts and doo-hickies break off, stop working, etc.

The real question is, will buyers pay for higher quality? Would any of you pay $5-10K more if you didn't have to deal with poorly installed windows, loose wiring connections, sawdust in every crevice, separated roof seams, over-torqued screws loose screws, cock-eyed trim?

The problem is the whole business model for the industry is backwards with the exception of the high-end manufacturers. When the dealers business model is to move as many units as possible and get the warranty repair revenue on the back-end from the manufacturer where is the incentive to have high quality? The problem almost mimics where the auto industry was leading up to the 1970s for quality (gas crisis aside).

Also, when your building state of the art factory repair centers instead of investing in the manufacturing facility..you've got to start to scratch your head and ask "isnt this kinda backwards?"

Just want I've seen over the past 10 years...if anyone disagrees, shoot at me..
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post

BUT, you are on the right track with true, quantifiable metrics and while profit sharing and the knowledge that for me to keep MY job, the company has to do well is enough for me...

another of the 'rewards' could be allowing them to stay in a unit they built every so often...

I would bet most of the line personnel have never stayed in one and if mgmt set up one at a local park and let them stay in it, it might open up some eyes... (or maybe not )
Getting some good feedback here. Thanks.

As for the company doing well so you can keep your job, that's a good point, but with so many RV manufacturers in the same area, I wonder if they would just look for a job with another factory.

When we were in Shipshewana last December getting our unit fixed, we kept seeing trailers on the move - being delivered from the factory to dealerships, no doubt. When you see how many units are coming out of these factories all the time, you have to wonder if there are going to be any campsites left when we are looking for one!
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:30 AM   #9
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Mark, I have always said that we buyers are part of the problem, asking for lower prices. There are things that can be done at the manufacturing level I'm sure that would not cost a lot but would make a bigger difference down the road. They build in a margin for warranty repairs, but it would save them money and give them a better reputation if they didn't have so many problems when the units are shipped out the door.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:46 AM   #10
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Like the Japanese & finally Detroit(after getting thier rears kicked by Japanese) they need to read Edward Demming's TQM 14 points. This starts at Top Managent & flows down to the worker. Most of the management started on the line or front line supervisors & have forgotten thier beginings.
After throwing Demming out & almost losing all Detroit finally got on board & while they .may not be at the pinnacle have certainly improved.
It is a program of continuous, never-ending improvement, so as one problem is solved you begin working on the next, over & over.
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