RVH Lifestyles Newsletter
RVH Lifestyles has had a busy summer and fall! The demand for our products and services continues to grow. We are very appreciative of our customer’s trust in us and we continue to take measures to enhance the timeliness of our products and expand our product portfolio.
We have been focussed on several major tasks, the first of which is bringing on-board a new Vice President of Operations. Jonah Jones will have responsibility for all heavy hauler operations in the Parsons area. He is quite the “catch” for us, since he has exactly the experience and qualifications that we need for this critical job.
As our operations in Parsons, KS expand we need someone with the technical and managerial skills to oversee these activities. As you can read in the announcement elsewhere on our website, Jonah brings to RVH Lifestyles great experience and a proven ability to execute. It will allow us to take our operations to the next level.
Our operational focus for the last six months has been on getting processes in place to ensure timely and efficient delivery of our Gen2 hauler bodies. This entails several things – the first is the ability to build these “off the truck” on fixtures (or jigs). We have achieved this goal, and our first fixture-built beds have been trial fit to new 2019 trucks. These beds were built without ever seeing the target trucks. To say we were nervous when dropping the first bed on would be an understatement. But it actually fit perfectly. We are confident that we understand how to build these bodies with more efficiency as we go forward. Fixture building will allow us to parallel the hauler body build with new truck orders, or build for customer-owned trucks without having the truck at our facility. A way more efficient process, and one that saves everyone time. As part of this fixture-build process, the body has been divided into “modules” that can be built individually and then assembled into a complete hauler body system. This allows pre-building of components for more efficiency in production – and ultimately a higher quality product.
Another major operational task has been to expand our operations to bring the final assembly and accessorization activities into a new facility. These are critical elements of producing the high-quality product that is our hallmark. While we have always had a plan to relocate these key activities, we have moved this a year ahead of our original schedule to ensure that we deliver what we promise. We really do thank our customers for their trust in RVH LifeStyles, giving us the confidence to make the additional investment into our future!
RVH LifeStyles is occupying additional property in Dennis, KS where we intend to move our headquarters, containing our offices and conference facilities; an assembly/accessorizing and warranty/service space; and a paint and body area. These key activities are all critical elements of the final phase of the hauler body system build, and having more control of the process will reduce delays and result in a faster delivery cycle.
In time, we will be moving our personal RV sites to this new location to make additional space available for customer use. As you know, we have two covered parking sites which will be available to customers on a space available basis. In addition to the existing (uncovered) sites, this will allow for more customer RV parking.
This multi-building “campus” expansion is key to our ability to deliver high-quality products in a timely fashion. We will move into the first phase of this by Christmas, and by Spring hope to have additional capacity operational. The new campus is a short distance from our present facility in Dennis – you can drive, walk, run or catch a ride with the Amish as they pass by in their buggies.
We mentioned new trucks, above. The 2019 model trucks we ordered earlier this year have started arriving. While Volvo has had production challenges as they tool up an entirely new product line, and revise the manufacturing and sales-order process, the flow has started. We expect things to keep improving on delivery times as 2019 progresses. Our first four trucks are here, and more are on the way. All of these are custom ordered for specific customers. The new trucks are spectacular – quite an upgrade from the previous product line. You only need to look at new and old next to each other to see the difference. While the new generation still retains the Volvo “flavor”, almost every element of the interior and exterior has changed. And for the better! If you are interested in a new truck, now is the time to order. They are much lower in cost than you might imagine.
In the “new product” arena there are a number of other activities we can talk about.
We have been working with a partner on an advanced suspension hitch for heavy pin weights for some time now, and have made significant progress. Look for some product announcements soon. This suspension hitch will service trailers with pin weights in the 9-10,000 lb range, with trailer GVWR up to 40,000 lbs. We believe that suspension hitches provide for a better solution than commercial plates for heavy recreational trailers – especially those carrying deck cargo like cars. Up to now, there has been no solution in this space other than using the commercial hitch. All that is about to change.
We have also been working on a hauler body solution that is simpler and more modestly priced than our premiere Gen2 body. While the Gen2 body maximizes storage, looks, and features, these add complexity and cost to the body. We will be offering a lower cost body in 2019 that will still be of high quality and fully powder coated. Our hope is to lower the cost of materials and production, making some feature trade-offs thus allowing us to pass savings onto the market. This will add to our production hauler body portfolio. Of course, we continue to offer fully custom products, like our two-hitch system, or the “stacker” solution.
Lastly, progress continues on our “luxury trailer” project – it is presently on schedule for production. This will combine a commercial infrastructure with a luxury interior and amenities – and match it to a custom RV Hauler that is designed for and integrates with the trailer. It will implement the ideas we have developed over our many combined years of full-time RV living and will be a viable alternative to a luxury diesel pusher at a substantially reduced cost. In conjunction with our partner, we believe we will have a unique and compelling offering in the luxury RV space. More on this later – follow our journey as it unfolds on Facebook and YouTube.
Our vendors and suppliers are a key element of our product success. They also have been working to improve their facilities and processes to accommodate our needs.
The powder coat line was moved to a new location that is more convenient to access and offers greater efficiencies. This resulted in some product delays during the move, but it is up and running at this time. Overall, the new location will be a big improvement for us.
Our heavy duty mechanical shop moved into a totally new location earlier this year, after almost a year of renovation and preparation. This new building allows us to service a higher volume of haulers in a great facility. And it is just down the road from us. All of our heavy truck service/maintenance work will continue to be done there, while accessorization and light work will be done in the facility in Dennis.
As the holiday season approaches we wish all our customers and friends happy holidays. We will suspend work during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Over Thanksgiving, we will close the 20th, and reopen the 26th. Over Christmas, we will close December 22 and reopen January 2, 2020. Of course, we are always available for consultations or issues, but operations will suspend during those times.