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Old 02-24-2016, 01:54 PM   #41
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Does Hymer have production processes that would raise the normal quality level of North American production Class B and C rvs?
Well, that is a pretty low bar...

Hymer made it clear already when discussing production at Roadtrek that they were going to bring in their people to train personnel and monitor the production to insure that Hymer quality standards would be met.

Based on the reviews of Hymer products sold in Europe it would appear that they are at a quality standard that exceeds the majority of North American RV manufacturers and would be in the top tier here in terms of quality.
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Old 02-24-2016, 02:52 PM   #42
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This is some of the first financial information we have heard, and still not much, but they listed $96 million. Based on the Euro amount that must be US dollars.

An interesting comparison between Hymer and Roadtrek is that they have very similar Sales dollars per employeee. This is often a good way to compare companies within a given segment to see how the operate in comparison to each other, although it doesn't tell the whole story by any stretch of the imagination. It can also help predict how well the will assimilate to each other.

The guess would be that Hymer produces more product and sells at lower margin per employee, and Roadtrek makes less product and sells at higher margin per employee. Of course that is just a guess based on appearances and privately held companies don't say much. Gross margins on sales would be really interesting to know, but we never will.

It is good to see that most folks seem to be accepting it all in stride. I kind of expected some panic among the hard core Roadtrek fans, but it was mentioned on the Yahoo board and there was not a ripple. I assume Facebook is probably similar.

I think "good for everyone" is the by far the most common phrase used by folks.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:09 PM   #43
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With 35,000 vans out there, I am sure there are plenty of current Roadtrek owners predicting terrible things with the new owners but I am not sure they could be getting a better outcome than what they are getting.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:18 PM   #44
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And what, if any, effect will this change have on my 6-year RT warranty?
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:25 PM   #45
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Roadtrek's margins must have been super high given that the quality is average (based upon my personal evaluation of several models recently). The vans resemble a DIY so I imagine they stuck 2-3 guys on each van and let them do their best. Hymer has a tough road ahead training RT employees. There may be more relocations from Europe than they initially planned...
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:35 PM   #46
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A retroactive change to a current owners warranty would seem very unlikely unless the purchase left these obligations with the previous owners which happens often in bankruptcies but not likely here I would think. How long the 6 year warranty will continue for new buyers is something to see as things progress.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:41 PM   #47
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Getting a better quality system in place is not rocket science and experienced people are readily available in Ontario from the auto industry there. A few people from Germany to provide overall guidance on the expectations and some people hired locally can get it done easily.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:46 PM   #48
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Roadtrek's margins must have been super high given that the quality is average (based upon my personal evaluation of several models recently). The vans resemble a DIY so I imagine they stuck 2-3 guys on each van and let them do their best. Hymer has a tough road ahead training RT employees. There may be more relocations from Europe than they initially planned...
I think the indications of a new facility being built would give them a very good opportunity to start it off as a clean slate, new day, type of operation. The separate facility would allow the old managers to stay where they are and new ones with a Hymer slant and training to set up a new culture.

I wouldn't be surprised if they were fairly restrained in rapid change in the old plant as the concentrate on the new one. Transferring the changes back to the old plant will work much better once an example of how it works is available to see. Changing a setin culture is extremely hard for new owners to do, and keep good morale, especially if they are from "outside" the style that the workers are used to.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:02 PM   #49
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Getting a better quality system in place is not rocket science and experienced people are readily available in Ontario from the auto industry there. A few people from Germany to provide overall guidance on the expectations and some people hired locally can get it done easily.
I guess it depends on how they will look at quality. Putting in tracking, review, corrective action programs goes pretty well as they can be done kind of on their own. Where it gets dicey is when what the learn from the quality program information has to be applied to instilling permanent, effective fixes in production.

Short term they will probably try to "inspect in" better quality, which is the fastest way to improve. It is also the least effective, most expensive, most disruptive, etc way to do it. Most experts will say that if you catch 80% of issues on an manual inspection, you are doing well, and that % usually drops the longer the process is continued.

The real solutions will come from designing for manufacturability, setting up the production facility so that it works with personnel and not against them, and making sure everyone is on the same page, respected, trained, and listened to (and that means everyone from all departments to the very top).

High quality, high productivity, good morale, great profits, etc can be done in a modern factory, but it takes a lot work, talented workers at all levels, and management that truly understands what everyone does and respects their efforts (not common by the way).
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:11 PM   #50
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I guess it depends on how they will look at quality. Putting in tracking, review, corrective action programs goes pretty well as they can be done kind of on their own. Where it gets dicey is when what the learn from the quality program information has to be applied to instilling permanent, effective fixes in production.

Short term they will probably try to "inspect in" better quality, which is the fastest way to improve. It is also the least effective, most expensive, most disruptive, etc way to do it. Most experts will say that if you catch 80% of issues on an manual inspection, you are doing well, and that % usually drops the longer the process is continued.

The real solutions will come from designing for manufacturability, setting up the production facility so that it works with personnel and not against them, and making sure everyone is on the same page, respected, trained, and listened to (and that means everyone from all departments to the very top).

High quality, high productivity, good morale, great profits, etc can be done in a modern factory, but it takes a lot work, talented workers at all levels, and management that truly understands what everyone does and respects their efforts (not common by the way).
Agree with it all, my main point was you don't have to necessarily relocate a lot of people from Europe to get it to happen but as you say it has to come from the top down and be consistent and cover all aspects of the company and it won't happen overnight. I suspect that many of the workers may be frustrated by the way things are and welcome the changes. They were likely living with a lot of concern about the future, maybe now they can see the prospects for the future have improved.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:24 PM   #51
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Actually, relocating a bunch of folks would probably be counterproductive anyway, do to cultural differences. The best way is probably be to have some Hymer folks to set the expectations (with input from all) and the expected culture (cooperation and respect) and get good locals, as Greg mentioned, to do the implementation. These days, you don't have to have everyone at a facility to be a part of it, so you can have a very flat management structure. You can share purchasing, engineers, quality personnel, etc via the internet and conferencing, in real time.

One thing I haven't seen, that I remember anyway. Is Hymer unionized in any of their plants?
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:21 PM   #52
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If anyone is interested, Mike's podcast includes interviews with Jim Hammill and the head of Hymer with an interesting discussion on their European brands and designs. Jump to the 20 minute mark...

Episode 76: More Details about Roadtrek and it's New OwnersRoadtreking : The RV Lifestyle Blog
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:24 PM   #53
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My impression of the RT factory was that it was a noisy, dusty and old fashioned way of manufacturing. Poorly organized. (What do I know -- I've never built much of anything!) Modernization, either there or in a new facility, can't help but improve the product's quality.
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:57 PM   #54
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Well, it looks like the Roadtrek brand dies a quick death. Expect to see all the legacy products re-branded Hymer. Of note is no mention of the future of any of the current Roadtrek products. One could assume their immediate discontinuation, but I doubt that is the true case.

In my view, all they really bought here is the production facilities, workers and a dealer network. The network being the primary thing needed here and the most valuable.
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Old 02-24-2016, 06:10 PM   #55
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Well, it looks like the Roadtrek brand dies a quick death. Expect to see all the legacy products re-branded Hymer. Of note is no mention of the future of any of the current Roadtrek products. One could assume their immediate discontinuation, but I doubt that is the true case.

In my view, all they really bought here is the production facilities, workers and a dealer network. The network being the primary thing needed here and the most valuable.
Where exactly did you find the quick death of the Roadtrek brand and models mentioned in all this, I missed that...

Not that it might not happen but I have not seen that mentioned as yet...
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Old 02-24-2016, 06:20 PM   #56
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Where exactly did you find the quick death of the Roadtrek brand and models mentioned in all this, I missed that...

Not that it might not happen but I have not seen that mentioned as yet...
Read the press release.
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Old 02-24-2016, 06:35 PM   #57
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The press release is focused on the introduction of the Hymer products into North America and taken alone you might reach the conclusion that Roadtrek brand is going away and possibly even the current models. If you listen to the interview with Jim Hammill and the head of the overall Hymer group you might reach a different conclusion on these items...
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Old 02-24-2016, 09:26 PM   #58
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Another story confirming that the Roadtrek brand and models will continue under the new ownership...

Hymer acquires Roadtrek | RV Daily Report | Breaking RV Industry News and Campground Information
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:31 AM   #59
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This calls two questions:
1) Can Americans be sold on the euro aesthetic and style of manufacturing?
2) Can Hymer succeed at reforming RT's shoddy construction habits?

In both cases, I hope so.
Eventually in the case of No.1. Being the biggest Motorhome manufacturer on the planet, Yes to number No.2
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:34 AM   #60
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The press release is focused on the introduction of the Hymer products into North America and taken alone you might reach the conclusion that Roadtrek brand is going away and possibly even the current models. If you listen to the interview with Jim Hammill and the head of the overall Hymer group you might reach a different conclusion on these items...
No they will gradually drip feed " Hymer" products.Hymer is made up of 8 different divisions, that pump out 35,000 Motorhomes are year, almost as many as all NA production
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