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Camping World Set To Enter RV Transport Biz

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August 15, 2013 by   4 Comments

CWRV Transport

In an effort to expedite delivery of some 30,000 units a year from RV manufacturers to Camping World Inc.’s 90-plus rolling stock stores, CW Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis says his Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company has decided to enter the RV transportation business — in a big way.

And although there are still plenty of details to be publicly fleshed out, CWRV Transport – in the planning stages for nine months now – has already done a wave of driver surveys in preparation for launching a billboard campaign this week (Aug. 12-16) around the RV-building center of Elkhart, Ind., to begin recruiting drivers in anticipation of a “game-changing” Sept. 1 launch.

The new transport operation is exclusive right now to CW dealerships, but, Lemonis says, could include other independent retailers at a later date.

“We are getting into the transportation side of the business, the logistics business, for the single purpose of improving our inventory turns,” Lemonis, also CEO of Good Sam Enterprises LLC, told by RVBUSINESS.com. “So, today, it’s not anybody’s fault, but the process of getting inventory from the manufacturer to the dealer has really slowed up. And there’s a shortage of drivers, and there’s an increase in shipments.

“And when you have that confluence of issues, you know, we’re seeing delays that could be 10 to 15 days from the time the manufacturer actually has the unit ready to the time we get it.

“What that means for us is we’ll buy over the course of the year almost $800 million dollars of inventory, and when we look at missing one week, that’s an appreciable cost. What we hope to do is cut the lead time from 14 days to seven or eight, and pick up that inventory, those dollars, and redeploy them at our new stores. We’re opening 11 new stores in the next eight months. And as we look at ways to better manage our company, we know that we have to cut down on the lead times between the manufacturer and us.”

In the final analysis, Lemonis claims CW’s bold move into RV transportation ought to relieve pressure on manufacturers, his dealers and the other transportation companies who are “being yelled at and harassed to get stuff delivered.”

A real key to the whole gameplan, meanwhile, is CW’s plan to recruit drivers all over the country through its 1.5 million Good Sam Club members as well as four million Camping World RV and parts & accessories customers to whom CW will offer decent remuneration, fuel discounts and memberships.

Marcus Lemonis

The end result, Lemonis added, should be a greater pool of drivers for the entire industry, including other transporters.

“It’s really a logistics business,” he said, “and what we’re doing is we’re providing a pool of people from the Good Sam Club and current customers of ours who are looking for work. Retirees are looking for work; they like to get out on their own. And we’re using our existing database to populate additional drivers for the industry.

“We think that Good Sam members and Camping World customers are perfect candidates for part-time transport work because they live the lifestyle – they understand it – and they’re always looking for something to do. So, we really thought it made sense to kind of bring the RV consumer and the RV transport company together.”

Although there will be an Elkhart office, Lemonis says Camping World is not setting up an entire infrastructure to facilitate its new transport initiative, but instead is “partnering with a number of people to kind of facilitate it.” He declined to discuss further details about how this whole thing might work from an operational standpoint.

“This whole process is being run by people who understand the transportation business, not by Lincolnshire or Bowling Green (where CW runs its parts and accessories business),” said Lemonis. “This is a process that’s being administered by people who know the space – out of Elkhart – people who know the transportation business and have really been recruited and positioned to help because shipments, in my view, are going to continue to go up.”

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Comments

4 Responses to “Camping World Set To Enter RV Transport Biz”

  1. Robert Hartman on August 15th, 2013 6:05 pm

    Make it profitable for the drivers, give fuel surcharge, pay for fuel for return trips to Elkhart along with paying to transport units to dealers. If transporting your own product do not make it the drivers responsibility to wash units that should be the dealers responsibility if it is large damage it can be seen without having to wash the units. Drivers drive and deliver safely, dealers clean, sell and prep.

  2. Greg on August 16th, 2013 12:53 pm

    Moving rvs for Camping World will be considered commercial by the DOT. Does Mr. Lemonis realize the regulations that Camping World will have to follow not to mention the drivers he recruits. I have been transporting rvs for 10 years and there is a shortage of drivers because of regulations driving commercially and the low compensation to the drivers. I wish Mr. Lemonis luck!

  3. Mike Romine on October 17th, 2013 5:29 pm

    I have been driving for Indiana Transport this year and would like to switch, but the problem is it is not profitable for any of the drivers when we have to cover all insurance costs and all our fuel. If you are not going to pay both ways then the per mile rate needs to be much higher, whether it is for Camping World or somebody else its a big expense.

    Thanks
    Mike

  4. Jeff Kidwell on November 15th, 2013 10:22 am

    working exclusivly for camping world means one thing , no backhauls. unless they plan to raise compensation in some way i don’t see how they expect to keep drivers for the long haul when the current companies cannot keep drivers. I currently work for Autri Inc. which is a awesome company and well staffed to keep drivers going both ways. I wish CW the best in thier new endevor.

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