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Old 07-17-2018, 01:19 PM   #1
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A message to quality critics

We no longer have our wonderful 25FB. Nine Grandkids changed our needs big time! Over the years I have read so many mean spirited posts about how Airstream did this and didn't do that and all sorts of complaints. Perhaps some are justified. I wanted to let the critics know how to really judge Airstream build quality and materials. Take a few days and go look at every supposed top of the line trailer out there. I mean really look at them. Take a flashlight and look inside of things. Study how they are built. You will be shocked when you start comparing how Airstream does things and how everyone else does things. We were absolutely amazed at the poor workmanship, fit and finish, and materials even in trailers costing 100K! You end up settling for the one that has the fewest defects. I wish you all well. And thank all of you who answered my many questions! I learned many things on this forum.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:43 PM   #2
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I agree!
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:09 PM   #3
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I remember using the same line of reasoning when trying to explain to Mom how my room was clean enough as is, especially when compared to my friend's room. To my astonishment, she remained unmoved by my dazzling logic.

Those in pursuit of excellence do not measure themselves against others, but against the infuriating standards of perfection, unattainable ideals, which, maddeningly, they know beforehand are unattainable. These insanely focused individuals are driven by unrelenting forces within that push the outward boundaries of the possible. They are the ones who rewrite the textbooks, smash the old records, and set new standards. They make folks afflicted with mere OCD seem like unshaven, disheveled slobs. The only thing worse than being close to someone like this is to be someone like this.

Take Steve Jobs, for instance; a man most who worked for him consistently testify as being a major A**, and yet, in the same breath also acknowledge they did the best work of their lives under him.

Great execs are usually their own worst critics, and in fact, are eager to hear the critical comments from their customers, because that tells them exactly where they can most effectively manage change to increase customer satisfaction, gain market advantage and improve the brand.

While some of the complaints here are from angry customers who feel betrayed, many of the comments I read here are from those who love and respect the Airstream brand, but are disappointed in the execution of the brand promise in their trailer, and would like to see that addressed so the brand does not whither and die. Far worse than hearing criticism is not to hear it.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
. . .
While some of the complaints here are from angry customers who feel betrayed, many of the comments I read here are from those who love and respect the Airstream brand, but are disappointed in the execution of the brand promise in their trailer, and would like to see that addressed so the brand does not whither and die. Far worse than hearing criticism is not to hear it.
" Far worse than hearing criticism is not to hear it."

Well said.

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Old 07-17-2018, 05:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
" Far worse than hearing criticism is not to hear it."

Well said.

Yup! When I don't really care that much about something I had a bad experience with (restaurant, dentist, retail store) I usually just do not go back. They never get my money again, and they never know why.

We care about our Airstreams, and many fixes required are easy ones if Airstream is listening as they claim. I hope they'd rather hear from us, than not.
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Old 07-17-2018, 06:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
I remember using the same line of reasoning when trying to explain to Mom how my room was clean enough as is, especially when compared to my friend's room. To my astonishment, she remained unmoved by my dazzling logic.



Those in pursuit of excellence do not measure themselves against others, but against the infuriating standards of perfection, unattainable ideals, which, maddeningly, they know beforehand are unattainable. These insanely focused individuals are driven by unrelenting forces within that push the outward boundaries of the possible. They are the ones who rewrite the textbooks, smash the old records, and set new standards. They make folks afflicted with mere OCD seem like unshaven, disheveled slobs. The only thing worse than being close to someone like this is to be someone like this.



Take Steve Jobs, for instance; a man most who worked for him consistently testify as being a major A**, and yet, in the same breath also acknowledge they did the best work of their lives under him.



Great execs are usually their own worst critics, and in fact, are eager to hear the critical comments from their customers, because that tells them exactly where they can most effectively manage change to increase customer satisfaction, gain market advantage and improve the brand.



While some of the complaints here are from angry customers who feel betrayed, many of the comments I read here are from those who love and respect the Airstream brand, but are disappointed in the execution of the brand promise in their trailer, and would like to see that addressed so the brand does not whither and die. Far worse than hearing criticism is not to hear it.


While I also appreciate the OP's post for what it is - I think this post by skyguyscott may be the best summary on this topic ever.

I love my trailer, have been fortunate to have few major problems with it, love the brand, consider myself an ambassador, but offer critiques because I do love the brand and care about it. Some are so deeply disconnected in their experience from their expectations, they seem to feel personally slighted - which is understandable given the strong emotional connection you can have with a brand like this.

Just because perfection isn't possible doesn't mean a company (or person) shouldn't strive for it...
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:22 PM   #7
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hmmmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocco52 View Post
We no longer have our wonderful 25FB. Nine Grandkids changed our needs big time! Over the years I have read so many mean spirited posts about how Airstream did this and didn't do that and all sorts of complaints. Perhaps some are justified. I wanted to let the critics know how to really judge Airstream build quality and materials. Take a few days and go look at every supposed top of the line trailer out there. I mean really look at them. Take a flashlight and look inside of things. Study how they are built. You will be shocked when you start comparing how Airstream does things and how everyone else does things. We were absolutely amazed at the poor workmanship, fit and finish, and materials even in trailers costing 100K! You end up settling for the one that has the fewest defects. I wish you all well. And thank all of you who answered my many questions! I learned many things on this forum.
very true statement !!!!!!
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:41 AM   #8
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Stanardsville , Virginia
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Well stated, couldn't have said it better myself! Some of the totally unrealistic expectations make us realize some people are never happy and just like to complain. They should stay in motels and hotels.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
I remember using the same line of reasoning when trying to explain to Mom how my room was clean enough as is, especially when compared to my friend's room. To my astonishment, she remained unmoved by my dazzling logic.

Those in pursuit of excellence do not measure themselves against others, but against the infuriating standards of perfection, unattainable ideals, which, maddeningly, they know beforehand are unattainable. These insanely focused individuals are driven by unrelenting forces within that push the outward boundaries of the possible. They are the ones who rewrite the textbooks, smash the old records, and set new standards. They make folks afflicted with mere OCD seem like unshaven, disheveled slobs. The only thing worse than being close to someone like this is to be someone like this.

Take Steve Jobs, for instance; a man most who worked for him consistently testify as being a major A**, and yet, in the same breath also acknowledge they did the best work of their lives under him.

Great execs are usually their own worst critics, and in fact, are eager to hear the critical comments from their customers, because that tells them exactly where they can most effectively manage change to increase customer satisfaction, gain market advantage and improve the brand.

While some of the complaints here are from angry customers who feel betrayed, many of the comments I read here are from those who love and respect the Airstream brand, but are disappointed in the execution of the brand promise in their trailer, and would like to see that addressed so the brand does not whither and die. Far worse than hearing criticism is not to hear it.
Too bad almost nobody wants to actually pay for that level of excellence. If they followed this line of reasoning, AS would sell a few dozen trailers a year at prices the rest of us would laugh at.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:25 AM   #10
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If most stick RV manufacturers are say a 2 out of 10 on the quality scale and Airstream is a 4 out of 10, it doesn't mean Airstream has good quality. It means Airstream has slightly better than deplorable quality.

I love how people always high-side on this topic. WHAT DO YOU WANT PERFECTION?

No, but there is a huge gap right now between "perfection" and what Airstream produces that could be filled.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:35 AM   #11
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Exactly!

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Old 07-18-2018, 10:43 AM   #12
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As a relatively new owner of an Airstream (just over two years) I have watched these forums carefully -- for a lot longer than I've owned my coach -- and have learned from so many of you. After a while it's pretty easy to spot those on these pages (SteveSueMac, Protagonist and others) who really love the brand, have experience and advice to share with others and area able to do so without coming off as mean, preachy or bitter. They have a gift and their willingness to share it with campers like you and me allow this forum to continue to be a place where we all can learn and improve our Airstream experience.


I agree with skyguyscott's assessment and I concur with the OP's post as well. I have owned other trailers and regularly go to the big RV shows -- the quality offered in other brands...well, you just can't say it's quality at all.



I hope Airstream continues to work on their QC and that more of us can smile and be proud of our trailers, vans and motorhomes on these forums and on the road. We are all approached when we're out camping by folks who want to admire our rigs and I bet the first thing out of our mouths isn't, "Let me tell you about this bad experience when I had to replace my noisy water pump..."


So here's to all of you who have made the Airstream experience more enriching for me and my family -- THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!!!
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:19 AM   #13
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I have owned many trailers in my lifetime. For MANY years, I bought a depressed trailer during the winter, fixed and revamped problem areas, took it on my annual week long vacation with the family, and then sold it before end of camping season. I always wanted an Airstream, but could never find one that fit my economic spectrum. I lucked into my current trailer when it was only 35 years old (10 years ago) and have been extremely enamored with my purchase. Quality can be measured directly, IMO, by longevity. Show me another 45 year old trailer of any brand that still is, in most ways, original and campable and I may be otherwise enamored and impressed. Most later model quality problems seem to stem from unnecessary circuit boards and electronics, IMO. It takes a few minutes to manually light my original refrigerator and hot water heater, but simplicity does have longevity advantages.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:21 AM   #14
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Cost of Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zybane View Post
If most stick RV manufacturers are say a 2 out of 10 on the quality scale and Airstream is a 4 out of 10, it doesn't mean Airstream has good quality. It means Airstream has slightly better than deplorable quality.
I agree with Zybane and Skyguyscott. Comparing Airstream quality to other trailers is not good logic. Thor executives should "...manage change to increase customer satisfaction, gain market advantage, and improve the brand."

Most studies I've seen document that a good quality assurance program costs 10-15% of operation costs, which is almost always offset by the reduction in rework and warranty repairs. Good QA should lead to manufacturing process improvements, such as using robots, which further reduce production costs and improve quality.

If Airstream is a 4 now, they could rapidly be at least an 8 with management that is interested. AS can do this and remain price competitive in their niche marketplace.

73/gus
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