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Old 03-06-2015, 06:20 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, 06:41 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, 07:13 AM   #3
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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.
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, 07:54 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, 08:36 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, 08:45 AM   #6
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Well stated Frank.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:51 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, 10:25 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, 10:30 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, 10:46 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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Old 03-06-2015, 10:52 AM   #11
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Good point !!!
root cause analysis should be part of all troubleshooting to resolve it ONCE so that it never reoccurs !

I am happy to say that the wife's 2013 Ford Explorer Sport has never missed a beat !!!
And is a better car than the 2011 Audi Q5 she traded in on it...

AND, is very fun to drive with it's twin turbo's
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #12
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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.
Is this a book?
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:45 PM   #13
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Dr.Demming is the Gru of SPC. has several books out I was honored to attend one of his classes years ago
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:50 PM   #14
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Since we're told that many of the workers are Amish, I don't think it's a lack of pride in their work but rather being pushed to get the product out as fast as they can. This is where the problem lies. You only have so much time to complete your station. When time is running out they speed it up to get their work finished before the line moves to the next station. This results in sloppy work. There is one simple solution to this problem: "SLOW THE LINE DOWN." (and adjust the torque guns)
I can't believe that Crossroads is happy with all the warranty work that they pay for. But I bet it keeps the dealers happy. If the rv was built right the first time, there would be little warranty work for the dealers and their profits would be down substantially.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:49 PM   #15
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I know this might be a little off topic but there is an old saying "don't judge a book by it's cover". Well this applies to people as well specially the Amish. I have lived and worked with the Amish pretty much all my life and even have an Amish heritage background. There is a big misconception about the Amish and I wont go into detail but they are not all "that" that people think they are. When it comes down to it they are not any different then anyone else when it comes to making the money. And as long as the manufactures they work for say if you do X amount of units a day this is how much bonus you will get then they will do whatever it takes to get them out the door. I'm not saying there aren't some out there that are talented in what they do just like in any other cred they have the lazy, the greedy, the manipulative, the prejudice, etc.. I have been saying for years that the only way to get the quality better in these units is to do away with the peace rate and only pay a bounce for units that have been greened to be shipped. As it is right now the production workers get paid for everything that goes out the door even if it is missing parts or needs repaired before it gets shipped. So if they are running 25 a day out the door (which is about the average) and only 5 of them are ok to ship they still get paid for the 25. And of course a lot has to do with the materials they use also. It goes back to the old saying "build them cheap sell them high", profit is the name of the game. I have worked for a lot of companies and this is why some of the smaller companies don't last. They spend the extra money to build a quality product but in the end they can't compete with the larger companies that are producing more at a lower cost. And this is because everyone wants to try and save, even I'm guilty of that. Like someone else said earlier are you willing to pay more for the quality and at what cost a thousand, 5 thousand, 10 thousand more, where do you draw the line? And no matter what price you pay you are still going to run into issues. You pay $$$ for a car or a home and your still going to have issues with it eventually. Look at all the recent recalls in the auto industry.
Ok I'll get off my soap box now.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:12 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
Good point !!!
root cause analysis should be part of all troubleshooting to resolve it ONCE so that it never reoccurs !

I am happy to say that the wife's 2013 Ford Explorer Sport has never missed a beat !!!
And is a better car than the 2011 Audi Q5 she traded in on it...

AND, is very fun to drive with it's twin turbo's
Enjoy those turbos. Borne and raised here in Cleveland OH ... Ecoboost Central
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:12 PM   #17
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ideas for improving quality

Loanoak, yes & as feheen(sp) said several. Some are "hard" reads but you might find some "Reader's Digest" versions in a booksamillion. Getting the system going is expensive as are all fixes & which is why the commitment must be sold at the top 1st. So many times the fixes are dropped because the returns are not immediate.

Ok, as an earlier said, I will get off my soapbox now.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:17 PM   #18
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Smile ideas for improving quality

fhenn, sorry for butchering your name but my short term memory gets worse daily. Just my advanced age!
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:22 PM   #19
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I know this might be a little off topic but there is an old saying "don't judge a book by it's cover". Well this applies to people as well specially the Amish. I have lived and worked with the Amish pretty much all my life and even have an Amish heritage background. There is a big misconception about the Amish and I wont go into detail but they are not all "that" that people think they are. When it comes down to it they are not any different then anyone else when it comes to making the money. And as long as the manufactures they work for say if you do X amount of units a day this is how much bonus you will get then they will do whatever it takes to get them out the door. I'm not saying there aren't some out there that are talented in what they do just like in any other cred they have the lazy, the greedy, the manipulative, the prejudice, etc.. I have been saying for years that the only way to get the quality better in these units is to do away with the peace rate and only pay a bounce for units that have been greened to be shipped. As it is right now the production workers get paid for everything that goes out the door even if it is missing parts or needs repaired before it gets shipped. So if they are running 25 a day out the door (which is about the average) and only 5 of them are ok to ship they still get paid for the 25. And of course a lot has to do with the materials they use also. It goes back to the old saying "build them cheap sell them high", profit is the name of the game. I have worked for a lot of companies and this is why some of the smaller companies don't last. They spend the extra money to build a quality product but in the end they can't compete with the larger companies that are producing more at a lower cost. And this is because everyone wants to try and save, even I'm guilty of that. Like someone else said earlier are you willing to pay more for the quality and at what cost a thousand, 5 thousand, 10 thousand more, where do you draw the line? And no matter what price you pay you are still going to run into issues. You pay $$$ for a car or a home and your still going to have issues with it eventually. Look at all the recent recalls in the auto industry.
Ok I'll get off my soap box now.

Guilty as charged...

Check my posts on buying cheap LEDs...
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:52 PM   #20
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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.


I would suggest you print out these posts that have and will continue to be added to this thread. If Andy happens to be in the same frame of mind when you see him, give him a copy to read.

As far as his comment--- "If I could only find a way to make them care".
Tell him to quit blaming the help! The buck stops at the top! Always has, and always will!

There have been some very good posts on this thread from a bunch of owners who like their RV but if things don't continue to improve, they will be pulling a different brand on the next go around.
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