Industry’s New ‘Parts Initiative’ Convenes in D.C.

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June 12, 2017 by   Comments Off on Industry’s New ‘Parts Initiative’ Convenes in D.C.

An all-industry working group led by members of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and RVDA of Canada continues to quietly work on a series of parts delivery issues that could ultimately help improve dealers’ abilities to expedite warranty and other consumer repairs in the field.

The so-called “parts initiative,” which surfaced publicly after the three trade groups issued a joint mission statement regarding “service-related issues” during last winter’s Louisville Show, was on the front burner again at last week’s (June 4-8) annual RVIA Committee Week in downtown Washington D.C., where representatives of the 15-member all-industry task force met with the executive committees of both RVIA and RVDA.

“We have a cross-functional team with a number of RV dealers and suppliers and OEMs that meets on a weekly basis – and will through August – to look at a number of aspects of how we deliver service to end customers, and we’re measuring and benchmarking and looking for ways to improve,” reported Garry Enyart, director of RV business for Minneapolis-based Cummins Power Generation.

“Ultimately, the project charter is to reduce the repair event cycle time for our end customers,” added Enyart, 1st vice chairman of RVIA and a spokesman for the fledgling all-industry parts initiative. “Parts delivery is one aspect of that process, and something that we’re working on.”

Enyart and others say the task force is addressing how manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and distributors generally identify, handle and inventory parts as well as how the associations themselves go about training and deploying the technicians who handle parts so that dealers can do a better job of keeping the industry’s customers on the road.

Plans call for the task force to issue some recommendations later this year – most likely a list of best practices as to how the industry’s various sectors might improve their respective games with regard to parts delivery and customer service.

Bill Rogers

“There are lots of aspects causing long (repair) cycle times,” noted Bill Rogers, vice president and general manager of Exeter, Pa.-based Keystone Automotive Operations, parent company of aftermarket RV parts distributor NTP-STAG. “It includes capacity at dealers, training technicians and parts identification. There are a lot of parts to it.”

The all-industry task force therefore is taking a methodical, big-picture approach to the whole process. “We’re trying to look at a piece of it, which is the repair event cycle time related to parts,” explained Rogers. “When a part is diagnosed, the repair is diagnosed and it’s determined a part is needed. So, the question is what goes into getting that part into a dealership’s hands in a timely, accurate way?”

The industry at large, by all accounts, is supporting the fledgling parts initiative, which is considered by some as a key means of improving the industry’s “quality” performance across the board at a time when overall RV sales are peaking.

“Everybody kind of recognizes that we’re going to be near a half a million units shipped in 2018,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia, whose board of directors also met last week in D.C. and approved a $3.5 million budget for FY2018 that included additional resources for potential enhancements to the Mike Molino RV Learning Center’s Fixed Operation Certification program that addresses parts, service and warranty administrator certification functions.

Phil Ingrassia

“We need to do a better job on the back end,” Ingrassia told “That’s no secret, and so I think there’s a new interest in working together as an industry to do a better job there, and part of that will be a look at ‘can we deliver technician training and certification in a more coordinated format?’ and also ‘how do the fixed operations elements of all that fit in because it’s all kind of inter-related?’ You can have the best technicians in the world, but if they can’t get parts, they can’t fix the product. If you’ve got great technicians, but the people in the front office don’t know how to communicate with customers to find out what the real issue is or they can’t order parts correctly or they don’t know how to process warranty, then that part of the system breaks down.

“And what I’ve been talking to my board and other industry partners about is that all of the sectors have a piece of that – manufacturers, suppliers, dealers – and we need to just do a better job of working together.”

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