LAS VEGAS – During Wednesday morning’s RVDA of America Annual Meeting, both outgoing Chairman Brian Wilkins and incoming Chairman Darrel Friesen urged those in attendance to continue to make changes to improve the industry in the coming year.
A year ago, when taking office, Wilkins told the story of a family that had been longtime RVers, but were ready to give up on the lifestyle because of bad experiences they had with getting mechanical problems corrected. At that time, the family had just bought a new unit from Wilkins to give it one last try.
He updated that the story had a sad ending, with the family having another bad experience and asking Wilkins to help them sell the unit.
“Where we have excelled at bringing more innovation to design and an enhanced look to our product, we have failed at developing the back-end systems necessary to support our customers and their products,” Wilkins said.
“Too often these failures are negatively affecting the experience of our customers. Too often these failures are causing our customers to leave the lifestyle that we work so hard to market. If we truly want to grow this industry … we will need to change the way we do business. Supporting our products needs to become just as important as building and selling our products.”
Wilkins said the industry has rightly invested in training and education for its technicians and needs to make the same kind of investment in fixing the supply chain process so that dealers can quickly and correctly fix the customers’ problems.
Friesen also was quick to offer his support to fixing the supply chain.
“It’s not a problem a dealer or RVDA alone can fix; we need to work with our partners,” he said. “Our manufacturers and suppliers recognize the problem. It’s up to us as dealers to train our folks properly, give them the management systems to track the work they’re doing and communicate effectively with customers. And our partners need to do the same on their end.
“I’ve seen movement on this. With the rest of the Board’s help, RVDA will continue to work to be part of the solution.”