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Old 03-04-2016, 08:24 AM   #71
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I understand the thinking on comparing building homes to rvs but there are some big differences. Also I want to comment on the idea the high quality cost too much...

Houses are built by multiple subs and are all different. Many punch list items are due to non standard changes and one off designs. The builder usually warrants the house and covers anything that comes up 1 year after purchase. This is a simple call and then it is addressed by the builder who facilitates whoever needed.

Rvs are standard with a set configuration and it is much easier to have standardized procedures to ensure consistent quality.

I have realized that the consumers including myself are to blame as well for small quality problems. One of the keys in ensuring quality is knowing about the issues that occur on delivery through 1 year after delivery. When we all correct the simple issues ourselves, Forest River is not able to countermeasure problems they are not aware of. I also doubt the dealers are great about feeding the problems that occur back to Forest River.

This does not excuse the many obvious simple flaws. Example: our fan trim ring was actually hanging down when I picked mine up. More than half the screws were at a angle where they didn't catch anything. And the person who did this knew it, but obviously let it go. I corrected by putting a slight angle on it. A root cause of the problem appears to be the roof vent hole was cut too large if this part is corrected the carless screw operator will not be able to miss it.

Dave, in regards to Toyota last time I checked they are the worlds largest automaker. I think that counts as dominating the market. In addition and a interesting fact. Toyota has built houses on assembly lines for 40 years. They have built over 250,000 homes. And guess what, quality is better than built on site homes because they are built in a controlled environment with standardized practices.

Standardized processes, quality control, root cause analysis and countermeasures. It's a constant process that should never end but the notifications of the problems have to get back to the manufacturer. Everyone involved in the process of the build must follow this process, if it has to involve the executives to address the process is broken. Addressing at the working level management is how quality is achieved at low costs. Quality does not raise costs but not having quality does.


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Old 03-04-2016, 08:28 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by kysunseekermbs View Post
I understand the thinking on comparing building homes to rvs but there are some big differences. Also I want to comment on the idea the high quality cost too much...

Houses are built by multiple subs and are all different. Many punch list items are due to non standard changes and one off designs. The builder usually warrants the house and covers anything that comes up 1 year after purchase. This is a simple call and then it is addressed by the builder who facilitates whoever needed.

Rvs are standard with a set configuration and it is much easier to have standardized procedures to ensure consistent quality.

I have realized that the consumers including myself are to blame as well for small quality problems. One of the keys in ensuring quality is knowing about the issues that occur on delivery through 1 year after delivery. When we all correct the simple issues ourselves, Forest River is not able to countermeasure problems they are not aware of. I also doubt the dealers are great about feeding the problems that occur back to Forest River.

This does not excuse the many obvious simple flaws. Example: our fan trim ring was actually hanging down when I picked mine up. More than half the screws were at a angle where they didn't catch anything. And the person who did this knew it, but obviously let it go. I corrected by putting a slight angle on it. A root cause of the problem appears to be the roof vent hole was cut too large if this part is corrected the carless screw operator will not be able to miss it.

Dave, in regards to Toyota last time I checked they are the worlds largest automaker. I think that counts as dominating the market. In addition and a interesting fact. Toyota has built houses on assembly lines for 40 years. They have built over 250,000 homes. And guess what, quality is better than built on site homes because they are built in a controlled environment with standardized practices.

Standardized processes, quality control, root cause analysis and countermeasures. It's a constant process that should never end but the notifications of the problems have to get back to the manufacturer. Everyone involved in the process of the build must follow this process, if it has to involve the executives to address the process is broken. Addressing at the working level management is how quality is achieved at low costs. Quality does not raise costs but not having quality does.


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If Forest River is serious about quality and they are not, they would start with ISO Certification:

Certification - ISO
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:30 AM   #73
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For anyone considering Forest River, we looked at all available mbs platforms from different manufacturers and Forest River was a clear winner in terms of appearance, equipment and cost.

We have been also fortunate not to have any major issues. I am pleased with our purchase about 5 months in and 6000 miles and would purchase again.


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Old 03-04-2016, 09:37 AM   #74
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I was head of a team that implemented ISO certification at a modular builder that catered to the automotive industry. In addition to quality improvements, they felt being an ISO certified builder would give us a leg up in our bids. We were dead wrong. Ford & Chevy did not care that we were certified. They cared about how fast they could get it and what price they could get it at. Every bid was still very competitive and the ISO certification was never taken into account. (It did help our processes and communication, but I don't know that I saw huge improvements in quality, as most of these jobs were not cookie cutter, repeatable builds)

Along the lines of the automotive versus home builder and subs. The housing comparison is still the most accurate. Think of the line like a team of subs. In the automotive industry, many things are automated. Robot after robot. If you have a human electrician...his job might be installing one single part, over and over. In housing and in RV's, one electrician might wire the entire unit. While it is more standardized than housing, we still offer a lot of floor plans, options, etc (and one offs for some of us builders). The other thing is...what is the time frame to build a house? What is the time frame to build an RV? Quality take time...I cannot even being to tell you how many people get IRATE when the motorhome they ordered is late or that an order would take so long. Those people would be equally irate when said motorhome shows up on time with defects.

NO mfg would EVER hide a defect. Makes absolutely ZERO sense. But, a single human person, may try and hide their error thinking they don't want to do it over or admit a mistake. I tell all of my guys, fix it before it leaves, it costs me 4 times as much after, not including the damage to reputation.

Lastly, it's not really accurate (I will refrain from using the word fair) to lump all of Forest River into one group. While Forest River is the parent company. Each and every division of Forest River is for the most part run independently. We pool the things that make sense, like accounting, corporate duties, etc, but other than that, the quality of the product at Dynamax is the responsibility of Dynamax. The quality of Sunseeker/Forester is their responsibility. We do have a corporate PDI department that further ensures codes and quality standards...but 90% of it is still the division.

Not making excuses, just trying to compare and contrast for expectation purposes. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know. No doubt that every mfg can do better and I can guaranty that it is a focus of this division and I can assure you it is a focus of the division I left. We can do our best to design out human error, but there is no way to 100% prevent it until you take the human out of the equation.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:23 AM   #75
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I am very happy with my Forester 2251 (Chevy).
Is it perfect- no.
Is it a great value for what I paid- absolutely.
I still do not know how they make any $$$ selling this rig for 50k.
I see much more expensive cars and trucks have many more issues.
I am an insurance inspector. I inspect.

IMO- if you are not mechanically inclined or want to learn to fix things- don't buy an RV. That can cause you real headaches if you cannot troubleshoot and repair simple things.
Remember- you are driving your home in a pot filled, weather beaten world.
I laugh when folks complain because an ECM, BCM, ABS, SRS or any other myriad of computer controllers on a modern day vehicle fail. Just imagine your laptop being bolted to the vehicle for 10 years-hot/cold, dry/damp, constantly being turned on and off. How long do you expect that to last?
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:29 AM   #76
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Or the DRV Elite Suite, comes with one piece fiberglass roof:

Elite Suites Luxury Fifth Wheels - DRV

They are heavy, but arguably the best non-custom fiver. The DRV Mobile Suite model isn't really that much better than a Redwood, but either are superior to anything currently in the Forest River lines. It is the Elite Suite that stands out from DRV.
We bought our current unit as we are unsure how long we will be able to or want to use a 5er which we prefer. In 2 - 3 years we will trade for either a MH or 5er. The 5ers being considered are Elite and Lux at this time.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:56 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by bclemens View Post
I was head of a team that implemented ISO certification at a modular builder that catered to the automotive industry. In addition to quality improvements, they felt being an ISO certified builder would give us a leg up in our bids. We were dead wrong. Ford & Chevy did not care that we were certified. They cared about how fast they could get it and what price they could get it at. Every bid was still very competitive and the ISO certification was never taken into account. (It did help our processes and communication, but I don't know that I saw huge improvements in quality, as most of these jobs were not cookie cutter, repeatable builds)

Along the lines of the automotive versus home builder and subs. The housing comparison is still the most accurate. Think of the line like a team of subs. In the automotive industry, many things are automated. Robot after robot. If you have a human electrician...his job might be installing one single part, over and over. In housing and in RV's, one electrician might wire the entire unit. While it is more standardized than housing, we still offer a lot of floor plans, options, etc (and one offs for some of us builders). The other thing is...what is the time frame to build a house? What is the time frame to build an RV? Quality take time...I cannot even being to tell you how many people get IRATE when the motorhome they ordered is late or that an order would take so long. Those people would be equally irate when said motorhome shows up on time with defects.

NO mfg would EVER hide a defect. Makes absolutely ZERO sense. But, a single human person, may try and hide their error thinking they don't want to do it over or admit a mistake. I tell all of my guys, fix it before it leaves, it costs me 4 times as much after, not including the damage to reputation.

Lastly, it's not really accurate (I will refrain from using the word fair) to lump all of Forest River into one group. While Forest River is the parent company. Each and every division of Forest River is for the most part run independently. We pool the things that make sense, like accounting, corporate duties, etc, but other than that, the quality of the product at Dynamax is the responsibility of Dynamax. The quality of Sunseeker/Forester is their responsibility. We do have a corporate PDI department that further ensures codes and quality standards...but 90% of it is still the division.

Not making excuses, just trying to compare and contrast for expectation purposes. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know. No doubt that every mfg can do better and I can guaranty that it is a focus of this division and I can assure you it is a focus of the division I left. We can do our best to design out human error, but there is no way to 100% prevent it until you take the human out of the equation.
A lot of good information.

I work in an industrial setting, some guys are here only for a paycheck; no work ethic, no pride in what they do. Others take pride in their work and it shows in their longevity and compensation.

One of my favorite quotes has always been: "If you don't have the time to do it right the first time, when the hell are you going to find the time to do it over?" Obviously they don't, it becomes someone else's problem. It really doesn't take any longer to do it right the first time than it does to do it wrong.

Yes mistakes happen, but if they are addressed immediately they don't continue to snowball leading to a poor quality product. You can use the best materials in the world, but if you have poor installation you have a poor product. A good installer with a medium quality product will outlast the best product with a bad installer every time.

I have been messing about with RV's for over 35 years and have watched companies come and go. I am on my third Coachmen product, it is not the same as the ones from the 1970's and 80's, but they have done a decent job. The fit and finish is better than many other's that I looked at prior to settling on this unit. Every manufacturer will have a bad day, but it is what they do with that and what they learn from it that counts.

Unfortunately the RV industry is in a boom market and can't crank them out fast enough, many of the companies are more intent on production and profits rather than building a customer base and watching quality. With the continued consolidation of the market it makes it harder to really know who is doing what. I always hold my breath when I see an great independent manufacturer come under the umbrella of one of the larger corporations and hope they get to keep their individuality that made them strong in the beginning.

There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.__ John Ruskin

Caveat Emptor and do YOUR due diligence!

Aaron
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:14 AM   #78
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I do agree that frustration is amplified when you are not mechanically inclined. I am frustrated when I have to take a vehicle in for service. The waiting, the ride coordination, etc. I try and fix absolutely as much as I can myself. Car, home, RV. Their fault or not. (I'm not saying this is for everyone).

On another note, talking about expectations (mfg and retail), let me throw this at you. Let's say you had some issues on your Toyota. You had taken it into a dealer and the repair did not stick. So Toyota calls you and says...

"Hey, how about we come and grab your car from your driveway. I know our warranty says we do not cover fuel, or mileage, etc, but you already had it at the dealer once. We'll come and grab the car, drive it to our best service facility and drop it back in your driveway when we're done?"

What would your response be?
Ecstatic that they're saving you a headache.
Or do you instantly go into complaint mode about the mileage they'll be adding to your car and look for compensation?

I think a dealer or mfg should go above and beyond, but I can tell you some retail customers make you want to do the very bare minimum. Any sign of help, above and beyond the call of duty, is looked at as weakness. So I do see dealers doing as little as possible so the flood gates aren't opened and at times making you feel like them servicing your unit at all is a huge favor to you.

I could cite examples that would make your head spin...but again, just like this forum, mainly the bad stories are spread and stick and most of the good ones I never hear about as they are happily enjoying their coach. Is it human nature? Not sure but it seems the same way with the news...tragedy gets the best ratings.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:18 AM   #79
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Those look like great, well built units. Wow.

But at about 5,000 extra pounds dry, and around 2X the cost.

I'm at top end of budget as it is.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:24 AM   #80
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Forest River / RV Quality

And my neighbor bought a new Lux two months ago. The water heater has not worked for the entire two months. One gray tank never had the drain connected so no way to empty it. The tv is so miss wired that it is worthless. The dealer is 1/2 mile away and refused to send a tech to look at it. When he bought the unit he had them deliver it as he has no truck to tow it. They insist that he bring it in for repair. With what? So yes you can spend a lot but don't expect things to be perfect.
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