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Old 12-24-2012, 08:46 PM   #1
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Airstream Production

Just visted Airstream a few days ago, for a couple of days.

Wanted to check some things out in production and visit with the bosses.

It was interesting to see how many machines have replaced people.

Production is full time and currently they are producing an average of seven trailers per work day.

The colors and floor plans being used are absolutely gorgeous.

It is always interesting to see how the trailers are made compared to even a few years ago. WOW, is an understatement.

For those that have never visited the plant, if your in, or interested in an Airstream, you owe it to yourself to take the plant tour, that's still headed by Don Ambos.

That plant tour is rated number ten in the USA, and starts at 2 PM everyday.

I did not visit accross the street at the old plant where the motor homes are created.

Gasolene in Jackson Center was $ 3.14. Not bad at all, considering the boonies.

Andy
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:39 PM   #2
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Thanks Andy. There was an interesting article in Barron's last Saturday edition about Thor and Airstream. Double digit growth at Airstream for the past three years has boosted the stock nicely. No doubt the increased automation you observed helps profitability as well as quality . Nonetheless the overal view of the RV industry is cautious. At least by the analysist at Barron's.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:39 PM   #3
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The new trailers seem to be improving each year, very nicely assembled. We did the factory tour in October and it is impressive. Don Ambos even allowed us to go in the trailers at a couple assembly stations, look them over, and talk to the workers.

Don explained that by automating some processes, especially cutting of components, and bringing nearly all of the components back to the factory for fabrication instead of farming them out, they are getting much better quality.

You'll feel better about buying one of these after seeing this tour.

doug k
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:39 AM   #4
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I toured the plant at JC for the first time in August 2012. I was very impressed with the apparent worker efficiency, housekeeping, process design, and the balance of automation vs. hand building.

I spent my career managing a heavy industry production facility. I have also toured several auto mfg plants and the Martin Guitar plant. The AS facilities is certainly up there with the best i have seen.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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I have been very impressed by the fit and finish of the new 2013 models that I saw at the local dealership. Now all I need is a rich uncle or to win the lottery.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:39 AM   #6
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Interesting item of the tour, head of the company Bob Wheeler's office overlooks the production floor.

doug k
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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You sure like extremes of holiday locations Andy.

Last year it was Hawaii and this year Jackson Center.

Merry Christmas

Dave

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Just visted Airstream a few days ago, for a couple of days.
Andy
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:02 PM   #8
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You sure like extremes of holiday locations Andy.

Last year it was Hawaii and this year Jackson Center.

Merry Christmas

Dave
Not exactly.

This year was indeed Hawaii for 2 weeks, and was for pure relaxation and recuperation.

Jackson Center was 100 percent business, and "WOW" the weather was cold, a little drizzle, but other wise OK.

There was a definite reason I spent hours in production, including taking many photo's.

Andy
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Old 12-25-2012, 02:00 PM   #9
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Andy, photos?!?!. That's a benefit us pedestrians didn't get on our tour, would you post a few of the interesting ones so more of us could see what goes on in this fine facility?

I did take some in the Service Center though.

doug k
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Old 12-25-2012, 02:14 PM   #10
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I think we're all interested in the QA issue. I have been to JC twice. First time in August 2011, last time in September 2012. My profession for the past 20 years has been leadership development. So, while I found the production line interesting, I actually got more from talking to the people who run it. Granted, a small sample, and not a lot of time for in depth questioning. Today's metrics for successful a successful workforce is "engagement." What I found was that the workers I spoke with (from old-timers to one worker who'd been there for less than 6 months), was that they enjoy what they are doing and that they felt their organization treated them well and listened to them. Too, JC is a "destination" locale. There seemed to be a sense of pride in being there and being part of the Airstream family/culture. As a new owner (I've had my 2012 for 13 months), I couldn't be more pleased with my trailer's quality and performance. Other new owners on this site are not as universally delighted and have had issues (particularly the pernicious leak problem). I'll know more at the end of year two, but for now, I see Airstream as a well-run operation.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:57 PM   #11
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Andy,
How much for the naked pix of my new rig??
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