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Old 09-16-2010, 05:46 PM   #15
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It is in every industry...people DON'T take pride in their work anymore, all they want is a paycheck. I fight this on a daily basis.

Too many people don't learn how to do things the proper way. Every job I have learned, I sought out the oldest person and asked him to show me how to do it the "old way". I learned to build things using hand tools, then learned how to do it using power tools. Makes a huge difference. We used to have apprentice programs in this country, unfortunately those are all but gone.

Current generation isn't interested in working with their hands anymore, they all want a corner office making big bucks without getting dirty.

My average crew age has increased by 7 years in the past 15 years, getting youngsters interested in working is nigh on impossible.

Aaron
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:24 PM   #16
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The CEO himself should be down on the assembly floor with a level, straight angle, and broom on a regular basis. ( If he is already I apologize ) Show them all what's expected. Wally would be there.
A team is only as good as it's coach. Product quality and customer service should trump the stock holder every time.
Don't blame the little guys. They don't set the culture.

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Old 09-16-2010, 07:16 PM   #17
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Talking

Sad but true. Most people don't want to work hard to make money. A few more years of hardened recession might change that, but I'm sure the government will pander to the masses and bring on more entitlement.

Oddly enough I have one of those corner office jobs that I worked my butt off to get, and continue to bust keeping it. I actually find working with my hands really relaxing.

From what I've seen, the RV industry is nowhere near as bad as the boat builders are. Every boat owner will confirm that the two happiest days of ownership are when you buy, and when you sell. I've rarely heard that in the Airstream world. However, my boat ownership experience was one reason I did not buy new, or from a dealer.

Maybe you should have bought a boat first.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:21 PM   #18
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airstream quality issues

Craftsman, After 30 plus years of "trailering" with 4 different Sunline trailers, we decided to buy an Airstream. We bought a used 2004 - 30 foot Classic in 2007 and have been disappointed in the quality of materials and construction. So far we have put over 30,000 miles on it and something always needs to be fixed after a trip. We never have had half the problems with the other trailers.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:37 PM   #19
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All ofthe problems on our new trailer (there weren't a bunch) were damage done by the installers, including at least two cases of installers obviously damaging something that had been previously installed. All of them were repaired to our satisfaction. You know those repairs cost Airstream money. For one problem, we hired an outside professional counter top guy and Airstream paid for it. That cost them the equivalent of several hours of installer wages.

We are having some kind of record unemployment right now. I find it hard to believe that there aren't people out there willing to do a proper job for an appropriate wage.
I am guessing that apropriate wage is the problem.

Regards,

Ken
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:58 PM   #20
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I've posted on this issue before, but let me re-iterate a bit.

From my purview in the RV industry as a Certified Master RV Tech, I get to see the innards of most types of RVs, but especially the high end luxury motor home segment. Believe me when I tell you that these same problems exist in the over $250K market segment as well.....all the way up to the $million super busses!

The line workers on most production RVs are just that.......WORKERS. They are NOT CRAFTSMEN, nor do the really care about anything else in the coach other than their small area of installation. Many times you will see unqualified workers doing work outside of their specific area if a line worker is out; ie: the electrician is out today so one of the plumbers is 'filling in'! THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!! and results in many failures down the road.

This might start to change and improve, at least in the motor home segment, with a company called Monaco LLC. They were previously known as Monaco Coach Corp and had 40% of the diesel pusher luxury bus market before they went bankrupt. Now they are owned by Navistar, who is rapidly bringing their automotive style quality control to their new company. It will be interesting to see just how this will affect the market.

The second part of the problem is the low level of the techs that RV dealers use. Most of these guys barely have a high school education and little or no training other than what they get on the job. I spend 30-40 hours yearly in component manufacturers tech training schools to stay current and get a total in-depth knowledge base of their products. Only then can you really begin to properly diagnose and correct a problem.

The third part of this conundrum is the owners. Unfortunately, after their warranty is over, many owners would rather try to DIY a fix, or get a cheap labor rate from an unqualified tech. I have seen this time and again. I will say this: if you want the problem fixed properly the first time, find a qualified tech who is certified by the component manufacturer in question (unless YOU are qualified to do such a job). If you have doubts, contact that OEM and get their referral. While this is still no guaranty of job quality, it will at least point you in the right direction.

Yes, Airstream could come a long way in the QC area and probably would be there if: 1. Wally was still at the helm, 2. it was not owned by a profit before all else publicly traded company and 3. they really cared about their customers opinions of the product.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:39 PM   #21
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What rolls out of the Airstream shop is a direct reflection of the management of the company. Bob Wheelers job is to produce profits for Thor's stock holders. The area around the Airstream factory is farm country so people working in their factory are probably just thankful to have a job. If I remember correctly there is a Honda plant near by. Why do you think they build plants like that in the middle of nowhere? Cheap labor with a minimum education. Most high schools did away with industrial arts programs a long time ago so where are the employees getting their training? From the old guys still working there who probably don"t give a s**t anymore. They're just holding on until retirement and it shows in the work. Airstream can say whatever they want t about building a quality product but the proof is in the pudding. More owners need to speak up. This level of quality would be laughable in even the least expensive car today. Why should they get away with selling poorly assembled crap and passing it off as an exclusive, high end product. We've been duped. It's almost like they're saying' your so lucky to be an Airstream owner. now your a member of an exclusive elite little club. Doesn't every one just ooh and ah when you pull in to the RV park. I say BS.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:45 PM   #22
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Ok Jack, now tell us how you really feel...

Just think how far AS would get in the market place if they were an auto vehicle manufacturer with this many 'quality control' defects in their vehicles, selling in the $60-100K neighborhood!

I'll bet prospective customers wouldn't buy it - and without attention to these 'details', would be out of business...

I don't have any idea what design patents AS still holds for it's product, but if another competing mfgr were to produce a similar looking product WITHOUT as many quality issues, AS might be in for a BIG surprise in the RV new sales market!

Sadly, that isn't the reality, and AS can continue to produce it's own kind of 'let them eat cake' kind of products as long as they keep selling to buyers blinded by quality issues - getting the buyer signed to the contract, and we'll deal with it later, kind of thing, it seems...

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Old 09-16-2010, 11:27 PM   #23
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Craftsman maybe you should just sell your A/S and buy this one instead.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:49 PM   #24
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Hi, although my Safari wasn't perfect, and had some problems, it was far better than what you said about your Classic. I find that odd, since one of the Airstream Forum Gods, stated how much better the Classics were made compared to all the other models.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:46 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w7ts View Post
All ofthe problems on our new trailer (there weren't a bunch) were damage done by the installers, including at least two cases of installers obviously damaging something that had been previously installed. All of them were repaired to our satisfaction. You know those repairs cost Airstream money. For one problem, we hired an outside professional counter top guy and Airstream paid for it. That cost them the equivalent of several hours of installer wages.

We are having some kind of record unemployment right now. I find it hard to believe that there aren't people out there willing to do a proper job for an appropriate wage.
I am guessing that apropriate wage is the problem.

Regards,

Ken

What is appropriate? At one point US autoworkers were some of the highest paid manufacturing workers in the world and still could not meet the reliability of the Japanese auto manufacturers.

It takes more than money to get the proper job done, it takes the right person with the right attitude being managed by people with the right attitude. It boils down to an entire corporate culture.

I have a VP currently in place in my company who's sole purpose (in his mind) is to save the company money...in reality he costs the company money by cutting corners in the wrong places. For example sends marginally working critical equipment into the field where I have the joy of fixing it while 8 guys stand around and watch, when it could and should have been repaired by the shop guy prior to it being sent to the field. So instead of 4 hours being spent in a fully equipped shop you have 60+ man hours wasted in the field repairing something with hand tools and quite often having to wait on parts to be sent from some remote location. My only hope is that he does not continue to move up the corporate ladder.

Aaron
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:28 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Hansom-Man View Post

Oddly enough I have one of those corner office jobs that I worked my butt off to get, and continue to bust keeping it. I actually find working with my hands really relaxing.
X2. Although working on an assembly line doesn't sound too fun.

A big problem with our corporate culture is quantity over quality, time is money mentality.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
It is in every industry...people DON'T take pride in their work anymore, all they want is a paycheck. I fight this on a daily basis.

Aaron
Not singling you out, but there are some of us that take great pride in what we do. I stress over things people will never ever see. Like Viking, I worked in the cabinet trade for many years. When I was an apprentice I was told " If you don't have time to do right the first time, what makes you think you have time to do it again" I was also told, "if it's not right, it's wrong!!!" There were lots of expletives thrown in that I left out. It is unfortunate that so few people work with their hands these days. Hopefully the few that do will soon be compensated like the guys programming the computers and shuffling the papers around.
I think the real issue is accountability. The person that stamps pass on the thing is not doing his job correctly.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:05 AM   #28
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The funny thing is, when/if I wind up buying a (slightly used) modern trailer at some point down the road, I fully expect to take it to someone like 62overlander to have the bugs worked out. From the viewpoint of Airstream corporate quality control, there's something a bit sad about that.

I also get the feeling that whoever buys craftsman's fully-vetted Classic will wind up with a pretty good trailer in the end. None of this helps those who buy these trailers new...

It is sad. AS has known of these problems for years. Any suggestion of making the products better that might slightly add to their cost gets nixed. (For instance, quite a few cheaper SOBs have composite wood-free floors now - but that's too expensive for Airstream, according to Bob Wheeler on the VAP?) Instead, they're inordinately proud of decor changes and special branding deals - charging more for fluff.

Shy of fully restoring vintage (which brings resale and finance concerns), there don't seem to be a lot of options if you want a stylish trailer, especially one shorter than 26 feet. We'll see how Earthbound does...

Tom
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