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Old 04-07-2021, 09:57 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Ibew684 View Post
I completely understand and agree with you Larry,
Spending $10 in the beginning of the process to save $100 in the end would the smart and profitable thing to do. The point that Iím making is that they must not be losing a lot of money because if they were they wouldíve addressed this issue long ago.
Larry is saying they donít know how much they are losing - as I read his comments.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:08 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
No. You somehow overlooked the main point of my argument.

Because they are not doing proper Cost Accounting, they don't realize how much poor quality is costing them. They don't see the opportunity to spend a little more at the front end to save a bundle at the back end.

A good part of this is because of the way they grew. Forest River is not a consolidated industry. It's a holding company. They bought up a bunch of small RV companies, but each one is still run independently.
Actually I did not miss the point. My very first few sentences discuss risk analysis which I'm sure they did hence why no major push towards quality improvements. And a risk analysis takes on many forms not just cost impact but schedule and customer satisfaction. I've done many of those over the years but my customer was always first. Others we lost contracts. So the improvements was imperative in order for the company to make money and win concurrent contracts. Schedule was a close second. These contracts were worth 10 of millions of dollars some approaching $150M for 3 year contracts. Profit driven by quality and schedule were major incentives on said contracts. FR is driven by one major item ROI to the stockholders and CEOs make major bonuses on making or exceeding their numbers. Customer satisfaction in the RV industry IMHO isn't number #1. Its what the purchase of Tiffin, Newmar, etc. to the big 3 (Thor, Winnebago & Forest River) will sooner or later impact quality. Hopefully the take some if the best practices from these companies first but it will be predicated on cost vs. Profit...
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:36 AM   #43
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Not losing money

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Originally Posted by Ibew684 View Post
I completely understand and agree with you Larry,
Spending $10 in the beginning of the process to save $100 in the end would the smart and profitable thing to do. The point that Iím making is that they must not be losing a lot of money because if they were they wouldíve addressed this issue long ago.
This gets into some technical terms like "opportunity cost."

They are not losing any money.

They are making money hand over foot. As long as the year-over-year revenues and profits continue to rise--and they are--upper management and the shareholders are not going to look any deeper.

RV sales are booming. It is one industry that benefited from COVID-19. People could no longer accept being crammed into stuffy airplanes and trains so they rushed out to buy RVs so they could continue to travel.

In case you didn't realize it, Forest River is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. This largest shareholder and founder of this publicly-traded company is a guy you might have heard of: Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world.

It's a little hard to extract Forest River financials from the Berkshire Hathaway Form 10-K because they are lumped into the "Consumer Products" sector, but the other big entities (Fruit of the Loom, H. H. Brown Shoe, Duracell) in the sector don't seem to be subject to growth spikes.

While the thinking in this forum is that 2020 was a boom year for RVs, 2019 was actually stunningly better. Here are an extracts from the 2020 Form 10-K.

Consumer products
The consumer products group includes leisure vehicles (Forest River), several apparel and footwear operations (including Fruit of the Loom, Garan, H.H. Brown Shoe Group and Brooks Sports) and a manufacturer of high-performance alkaline batteries (Duracell). This group also includes custom picture framing products (Larson Juhl) and jewelry products (Richline).

2020 versus 2019

Consumer products revenues increased of $359 million (3.0%) in 2020 versus 2019, while pre-tax earnings increased $146 million (11.7%). Pre-tax earnings as a percentage of revenues in 2020 increased 0.9 percentage points to 11.5%.

The comparative increase in revenues reflected revenue increases from Forest River and Duracell, partially offset by lower apparel and footwear revenues. Forest River revenues increased 11.7% in 2020 compared to 2019, primarily attributable to a significant increase in recreational vehicle unit sales over the last half of the year and changes in sales mix.

Unit sales in the second half of 2020 increased 31% over the second half of 2019. Revenues from Duracell increased 10.0% in 2020 compared to 2019, reflecting the effects of changes in sales mix and increased volume. Apparel and footwear revenues declined 6.1% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Apparel and footwear sales volumes in the first half of 2020, particularly in the second quarter, reflected the negative effects of the pandemic, which included retail store closures, reduced or cancelled orders and pandemic-related disruptions at certain manufacturing facilities. Sales recovered somewhat in the second half of 2020, attributable to higher consumer
demand and inventory restocking by retailers. Brooks Sports revenues were higher, partly attributable to the effect of the reduced sales in 2019 that were caused by shipping delays at a new distribution facility.

The comparative increase in pre-tax earnings was primarily attributable to Forest River and Duracell, partially offset by lower earnings from apparel and footwear. The increase reflected the effects of sales volumes changes and ongoing expense management efforts.

2019 versus 2018

Consumer products revenues declined $718 million (5.7%) in 2019 versus 2018, driven by a 12.9% revenue decline from Forest River, primarily due to lower unit sales. Revenues of Duracell increased 1.3% and apparel and footwear revenues declined 1.1% compared to 2018. Although revenues from Brooks Sports increased 3.5% in 2019, its operating results were negatively affected by lost sales associated with problems encountered at a distribution center that opened in the second quarter. In addition, our other apparel and other footwear businesses continue to experience lower sales volumes for certain products, reflecting the shift by major retailers towards private label products.

Consumer products pre-tax earnings increased $43 million (3.6%) in 2019 compared to 2018. The increase was primarily attributable to continuing cost containment efforts across several of the businesses and the effects of a new Duracell product launch, partially offset by the impact of lower recreational vehicle sales at Forest River.


What you were probably attempting to articulate is that they are missing an opportunity to be even more profitable. You are correct. Their failure to do cost analysis is hurting them dearly. But those who could direct a change seem unaware.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:45 AM   #44
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Larry, I'd be interested about how you would envision this happening.
Shipping RVs from Asia would cut deeply into their profit margin since an average RV could take up the same shipping space as 3-6 import cars.
Then there's the fact that they have no knowledge of RVs nor RV culture.
Modernization of RV factories would have to reduce the variety of brands and types and floorplans that the NA public is used to and wants.
Bottom line is that I don't see any Asian manufacturer
THe Japanese for instance could purchase the the FR company, revamp the assembly process and still make them here with great cost savings and make a bundle...

Toyota in KY regularly ships new American managers to their Japan plants to train them in their culture and manufacturing methods. They then go back and apply what they have learned to American facilities.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:46 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Mr. Dan View Post
Larry is saying they donít know how much they are losing - as I read his comments.
Close. More like "they are overlooking that they have an opportunity to make even more money than they are making now."
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:47 AM   #46
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New Tandara 320RL owner

Hello Ibew684 et al. I bought a Tandara 320RL in early March from Camping World in Fresno, CA. We bought it for many of the same reasons you bought yours. We have only taken it on one trip and for the most part ours performed well, however, we have had problems with the auto leveling, jack system from the beginning. From the beginning it seems the system was out of calibration. Auto leveling didn't work and I had to do it manually. Also when extending or retracting the landing gear the jack on one side or the other would quit working and I the entire wt. of the 5th wheel would be on a single jack in the front with the other one completely off the ground. Two days ago when trying to hook it up to my truck I realized that the right front jack was not working at all. After further inspection I realized the motor of the jack had come completely detached from the jack leg (transmission?). It looks like the shaft connecting them snapped in half. I took it to Camping world yesterday and they confirmed this. I had to get it off my truck, so they suggested I lift it by extending the left front jack another another guy on the right side use a fork lift. In the process all the wt. of the trailer was being lifted by the left front jack and after about 20 seconds of this, the left front jack motor shaft snapped also. They were able to get it off my truck using two forklifts and I left it with them to do the warrantee work. They told me they were going to contact the manufacturer and order the parts. Have you or anyone else had any problems like this? I know the landing gear is designed to work with two jacks, but should it be capable of doing the job with one jack in the event the other one is disabled like mine was? I'm concerned that merely replacing the parts won't fix the problem. In other words, I'm concerned the landing gear isn't hearty enough for the wt. of a 5th wheel. It is a BAL auto leveling system and I've mostly seen these on travel trailers. Also Ibew684, did you buy yours from Fresno Camping World? Sorry this is so long and I appreciate anyones response.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:45 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
This gets into some technical terms like "opportunity cost."

They are not losing any money.

They are making money hand over foot. As long as the year-over-year revenues and profits continue to rise--and they are--upper management and the shareholders are not going to look any deeper.

RV sales are booming. It is one industry that benefited from COVID-19. People could no longer accept being crammed into stuffy airplanes and trains so they rushed out to buy RVs so they could continue to travel.

In case you didn't realize it, Forest River is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. This largest shareholder and founder of this publicly-traded company is a guy you might have heard of: Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world.

It's a little hard to extract Forest River financials from the Berkshire Hathaway Form 10-K because they are lumped into the "Consumer Products" sector, but the other big entities (Fruit of the Loom, H. H. Brown Shoe, Duracell) in the sector don't seem to be subject to growth spikes.

While the thinking in this forum is that 2020 was a boom year for RVs, 2019 was actually stunningly better. Here are an extracts from the 2020 Form 10-K.

Consumer products
The consumer products group includes leisure vehicles (Forest River), several apparel and footwear operations (including Fruit of the Loom, Garan, H.H. Brown Shoe Group and Brooks Sports) and a manufacturer of high-performance alkaline batteries (Duracell). This group also includes custom picture framing products (Larson Juhl) and jewelry products (Richline).

2020 versus 2019

Consumer products revenues increased of $359 million (3.0%) in 2020 versus 2019, while pre-tax earnings increased $146 million (11.7%). Pre-tax earnings as a percentage of revenues in 2020 increased 0.9 percentage points to 11.5%.

The comparative increase in revenues reflected revenue increases from Forest River and Duracell, partially offset by lower apparel and footwear revenues. Forest River revenues increased 11.7% in 2020 compared to 2019, primarily attributable to a significant increase in recreational vehicle unit sales over the last half of the year and changes in sales mix.

Unit sales in the second half of 2020 increased 31% over the second half of 2019. Revenues from Duracell increased 10.0% in 2020 compared to 2019, reflecting the effects of changes in sales mix and increased volume. Apparel and footwear revenues declined 6.1% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Apparel and footwear sales volumes in the first half of 2020, particularly in the second quarter, reflected the negative effects of the pandemic, which included retail store closures, reduced or cancelled orders and pandemic-related disruptions at certain manufacturing facilities. Sales recovered somewhat in the second half of 2020, attributable to higher consumer
demand and inventory restocking by retailers. Brooks Sports revenues were higher, partly attributable to the effect of the reduced sales in 2019 that were caused by shipping delays at a new distribution facility.

The comparative increase in pre-tax earnings was primarily attributable to Forest River and Duracell, partially offset by lower earnings from apparel and footwear. The increase reflected the effects of sales volumes changes and ongoing expense management efforts.

2019 versus 2018

Consumer products revenues declined $718 million (5.7%) in 2019 versus 2018, driven by a 12.9% revenue decline from Forest River, primarily due to lower unit sales. Revenues of Duracell increased 1.3% and apparel and footwear revenues declined 1.1% compared to 2018. Although revenues from Brooks Sports increased 3.5% in 2019, its operating results were negatively affected by lost sales associated with problems encountered at a distribution center that opened in the second quarter. In addition, our other apparel and other footwear businesses continue to experience lower sales volumes for certain products, reflecting the shift by major retailers towards private label products.

Consumer products pre-tax earnings increased $43 million (3.6%) in 2019 compared to 2018. The increase was primarily attributable to continuing cost containment efforts across several of the businesses and the effects of a new Duracell product launch, partially offset by the impact of lower recreational vehicle sales at Forest River.


What you were probably attempting to articulate is that they are missing an opportunity to be even more profitable. You are correct. Their failure to do cost analysis is hurting them dearly. But those who could direct a change seem unaware.
Makes a lot of sense, as long as the CEOs and shareholders get their big bonus and the shares keep increasing thats all they care about.
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:01 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by PTDave View Post
Hello Ibew684 et al. I bought a Tandara 320RL in early March from Camping World in Fresno, CA. We bought it for many of the same reasons you bought yours. We have only taken it on one trip and for the most part ours performed well, however, we have had problems with the auto leveling, jack system from the beginning. From the beginning it seems the system was out of calibration. Auto leveling didn't work and I had to do it manually. Also when extending or retracting the landing gear the jack on one side or the other would quit working and I the entire wt. of the 5th wheel would be on a single jack in the front with the other one completely off the ground. Two days ago when trying to hook it up to my truck I realized that the right front jack was not working at all. After further inspection I realized the motor of the jack had come completely detached from the jack leg (transmission?). It looks like the shaft connecting them snapped in half. I took it to Camping world yesterday and they confirmed this. I had to get it off my truck, so they suggested I lift it by extending the left front jack another another guy on the right side use a fork lift. In the process all the wt. of the trailer was being lifted by the left front jack and after about 20 seconds of this, the left front jack motor shaft snapped also. They were able to get it off my truck using two forklifts and I left it with them to do the warrantee work. They told me they were going to contact the manufacturer and order the parts. Have you or anyone else had any problems like this? I know the landing gear is designed to work with two jacks, but should it be capable of doing the job with one jack in the event the other one is disabled like mine was? I'm concerned that merely replacing the parts won't fix the problem. In other words, I'm concerned the landing gear isn't hearty enough for the wt. of a 5th wheel. It is a BAL auto leveling system and I've mostly seen these on travel trailers. Also Ibew684, did you buy yours from Fresno Camping World? Sorry this is so long and I appreciate anyones response.
Yes I did. I sent you a private message
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