Elkhart, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. has introduced its new aluminum Tread Lite Power Step for motorhomes. According to a press release, the lightweight Tread Lite Power Step’s all new solid-drive mechanism allows it to extend and retract quicker, while providing more stability.
“For years the RV industry has been asking for a better, firmer power step, and our design team has again exceeded expectations,” said LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray. “The new Tread Lite Power Step has an upgraded drive system, coupled with a sleek European look. It is also designed to stand up against the elements with durable aluminum step treads.”
LCI’s research and development team collected customer feedback and conducted extensive research and testing to develop this premium Power Step, the company said.
LCI Motorized Sales Manager Marty McManus described the Power Step as quicker, stronger and much more stable. “We started from scratch on the design of this step and made substantial improvements,” he said. “The step features attractive aluminum extruded step treads which deploy and retract noticeably faster.”
The Tread Lite Power Step also features obstruction-sensing technology for added safety. A smart sensor monitors for obstructions during step extension and stops deployment if any are found.
McManus said the Tread Lite Power Step will be made to standard dimensions to fit current designs, but its extruded construction allows for custom sizes as well. He added, “For those who really want to set themselves apart, the linkage brackets can be color powder coated as well.”
The Tread Lite Power Step for motorhomes will also be available to LCI’s aftermarket customers.
Goshen, Ind., City Council members voted on second reading to approve an annexation agreement with Lippert Components Inc. involving a 56-acre plot of land.
Lippert, a supplier serving the recreational vehicle, manufactured housing and cargo/horse trailer industries, reportedly will develop the property for company uses.
The two-parcel plot of land is located north of C.R. 40, east of Corrie Drive and west of U.S. 33 — an area located outside, but contiguous to the city limits. Upon annexation, the property will be zoned Manufacturing-1 Industrial.
Referencing sewer and water needs for the property, Lippert has agreed to pay the city’s standard utility connection fee for the parcels when connections are made, as well as any sewer and water inspection costs and any future sewer or water tap-on fees. Lippert has agreed to construct a water main within the city right of way along the north side of C.R. 40 from Corrie Drive to the property when such a water connection becomes necessary.
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The New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) and Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) are teaming up to bring regional training to their dealers.
According to a press release, training on Schwintek in-wall slideouts, standard slideouts, leveling and stabilization, awnings and electronics will be conducted by the LCI training staff. Flagg RV in Uxbridge, Mass., will host training on Dec. 10 and Campers Inn, Merrimack, N.H., will host the training on Dec. 11.
“This is the first in a series of regional training sessions that we will bring to our dealers,” said Brian Sullivan of Campers Inn, who also serves as president of NERVDA. “We worked with Holly Nater at LCI to set up the program and our dealers are ecstatic with the opportunity to train many technicians over the course of the two days.”
Steve Flagg of Flagg RV and treasurer of NERVDA, noted, “We are rebuilding the association and wanted to show real value to the dealers who are already members of NERVDA, and to show the other dealers that we have a viable organization that can save them money and provide tangible benefits. For this first training session, we are not charging any dealership to send technicians. NERVDA dealers do get preferential registration for one week to enroll their technicians. We have 30 slots in Uxbridge and 50 slots in Merrimack. If NERVDA dealers do not fill all slots, any dealer in New England will be able to enroll their technicians at no charge.”
Registration for the training program is being facilitated by LCI and the deadline to register is Dec. 4. Nater, dealer relations and publications for LCI, said, “NERVDA has been a pleasure to work with in setting up the regional training program. We met Executive Director Bob Zagami during his Elkhart Open House visit to the area and he asked if we would consider doing training for their dealers in New England. We had all the details worked out in less than two weeks and we are ready to go! This can serve as a model for other state dealer associations to help reduce their training costs and train more technicians – it’s a win-win for everybody associated with this program.”
New England dealers can contact Zagami at email@example.com or (617) 974-3739. For information on the LCI training programs please contact Nater at firstname.lastname@example.org or (574) 312-7434.
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) has introduced its new Sure-Step, an aluminum quad entry step that can be mounted in several locations to “remove constraints that RV floorplan designers have faced for years.”
According to a press release, the Sure-Step fastens to the RV sidewall, rear wall, exterior slideout wall or over a wheel well, allowing manufacturers to create more versatile and customized RV floorplans.
“Traditionally an entry step could not be mounted over the axle area or on a slideout, which left OEMs with very few options on door locations — particularly on fifth-wheel and toy hauler RVs,” said LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray. “The Sure-Step eliminates that constraint and opens up the potential for new floorplans that didn’t work before.”
The Sure-Step allowed Peterson Industries to create its expansive new SDF floor plan with a walk-in door on the main slideout. Peterson debuted its new Excel Winslow D37SDF at the Hershey RV Show in September and won Best of Show by HGTV, which will be featured on the TV show “RV 2014.” The design won for “having the best innovations in the industry,” including the door on the slideout made possible by LCI’s new Sure-Step.
Bryan Tillett, president of Peterson Industries, noted, “Having the door on the slideout creates an expansive interior configuration. It’s all about the steps, or rather how they are stored for transport.”
The Sure-Step can be easily folded and locked into place. Its adjustable feet are designed to contact the ground in the extended position, providing greater stability.
“When you walk on this entry step for the first time and feel the stability, you’ll understand why people are planning to use the Sure-Step instead of conventional entry steps for all applications,” said Murray. “Add the optional folding hand rail that retracts with the step, and you’ll have an even sturdier, user-friendly entry step.”
Drew Industries Inc., parent to RV and manufactured housing suppliers Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., today (Nov. 1) reported a 52% increase in net income for its third quarter, ended Sept. 30, boosted by improved margins and strong performance in the company’s RV segment.
Net income during the period totaled $14.8 million, or 62 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $9.8 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012.
Net sales grew to $251 million, 11% higher than the 2012 third quarter. The sales growth was primarily the result of a 12% sales increase by Drew’s RV segment, which accounted for 87% of consolidated net sales this quarter. Drew said that sales of recently introduced components for towable and motorhome RVs increased, as did sales to adjacent industries and the aftermarket.
“Our companywide focus on our customers as our first priority has enabled us to gain market share and increase sales,” said CEO Jason Lippert. “In addition, we have been successful by staying ahead of the market through innovation. We continue to invest in customer service and research and development resources to maintain our position as a leading supplier to the industries we serve.”
He added, “Our operating profit margins in the third quarter of 2013 were 9.1% compared to 6.6% in the third quarter of 2012. The 2013 third quarter operating profit margins were consistent with the second quarter of 2013 largely due to management’s recently implemented efficiency improvements gaining momentum, partially offset by the anticipated impact of spreading fixed costs over a seasonally smaller sales base. Many of the production improvements resulted in larger than anticipated efficiency gains, including the benefits realized from our new glass tempering equipment.”
The company’s content per motorhome and towable RV for the twelve months ended September 2013 increased 4% to $1,137 per unit and 2% to $2,719 per unit, respectively, from the year-earlier period as a result of recent product introductions, product improvements and market share gains. The change in content per RV is a measure of the change in Drew’s overall market share across its existing product lines.
“Our labor as a percent of net sales in the third quarter of 2013 was consistent with the second quarter of 2013, despite the seasonal decline in net sales,” said President Scott Mereness. “The labor efficiencies we have realized over the past several quarters, while introducing new products and adjusting to industry and market share growth, have been significant. These improvements in labor during the first three quarters of 2013 were also primarily due to completed production efficiency improvement projects, as well as declines in the costs of implementing facility consolidations and realignments. We will continue to implement additional efficiency improvements as we identify them.”
In October 2013, Drew’s consolidated net sales reached approximately $95 million – 12% higher than in October 2012 – as a result of continued solid growth in the company’s RV segment.
“Our consolidated net sales for the trailing twelve months ended October 31 exceeded $1 billion,” added Mereness. “Achieving this milestone is quite an accomplishment for the company. In anticipation of future growth, we continue to expand and improve production capacity, investing in personnel and facilities in excess of current needs.”
Lippert noted, “Having completed our first full quarter since the executive transition, we believe that the process has been seamless, and we are pleased to report the 52% increase in year-over-year quarterly earnings. As we develop our strategic plans for the future, we expect to continue along the same path which has historically brought us success – profitable growth in our core RV and manufactured housing markets, diversification into adjacent industries, and cost control and production efficiencies. We believe the keys to accomplishing these goals are continuing to invest in new product development and customer service, as well as identifying areas where additional savings can be realized. I am confident that our management team has the ability to execute our strategic goals for the long-term growth of the company.”
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Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced that Byron Chartier has been promoted to vice president of quality, according to a press release.
Building off of 10 years of leadership experience at LCI, Chartier will work with the Research and Development and management teams from each facility to “maintain and fortify best practices based on customer needs, as well as promote consistent quality along every product line,” the company said.
“Byron will be instrumental in further strengthening the quality of our operations,” said LCI COO Todd Driver. “His vision, experience and commitment will allow him to build a quality program that promotes best practices across all of our operations and allow us to continue to provide superior products to the industries we serve.”
CEO Jason Lippert believes Chartier will help lead LCI’s quality program to further growth in his new role. “Byron has been key in advancing our quality program to where it is today. We are allocating even more resources to promote quality, allowing Byron to recruit and align teams in his new role to further strengthen our commitment to quality.”
Chartier noted, “I am grateful and proud to be part of the LCI team that is dedicated to the needs of its customers, employees and the community. We have excellent employees at all levels, which is critical to building a quality operation and to our overall success.”
Lippert Components Inc. announced the completion of a new manufacturing line for its 10,000- and 12,000-pound capacity spring axles, adding to its existing line of 2,000- through 8,000-pound capacity spring and torsion axles. According to a press release, LCI’s new spring axles are designed for heavy-duty performance applications such as cargo and utility trailers; horse and livestock trailers; and dump and heavy equipment trailers.
The ergonomic manipulators used to pick up the hub and drum align the bearings perpendicular to the bearing journals, reduce the risk of damage to the bearing for safe installation. LCI’s automotive quality U-bolt torque process uses a precision DC nut runner to ensure accurate U-bolt torque. The integrated flanged spindle design on the 10,000- and 12,000 axles are machined true, instead of welded.
“The integrated flanged spindle is a key feature of our 10,000- and 12,000-pound axles,” said Vice President of Sales, Manufactured Housing and Specialty Markets Andy Pocock. “It’s designed to prevent brake misalignment commonly caused by welded flanged spindles.”
Lippert Components has also designed an automated axle transfer system that moves axles effortlessly, limiting the risk of injury to operators. The transfer system allows axle team members to monitor their hands-on production for quality and accuracy in a safe and efficient manner.
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) announced it is partnering with HSM to provide OEM customers with the company’s line of quality, U.S.-built RV entry steps.
“We are committed to providing the best product to our customers and bringing jobs back to the U.S.,” said LCI CEO Jason Lippert. “HSM builds great steps, and we’re excited to distribute their newest design, which is more rugged than the traditional step.”
LCI will replace its current manual step products with the steel single, double, triple and quad steps manufactured by HSM in America. Lippert said the relationship brings products closer to existing HSM customers and allows LCI to provide customers with more comprehensive support.
HSM Vice President of Corporate Sales David Duncan noted, “We’re excited to team up with LCI and the opportunity it provides to bring our durable American-made steps to a wider customer base. LCI is a trusted RV components supplier, and working with them will broaden our distribution capabilities, improve efficiencies, and allow us to better support both existing and new customers.”
Tony Everett, HSM vice president transportation solutions, added, “Our agreement with LCI further enhances our ability to deliver integrated solutions to an expanding customer base, which will be especially important as we grow our U.S.-based manufacturing operations and bring new products to market.”
LCI Vice President of RV Sales Andy Murray says the transition is going smoothly. “Our customers are happy because we’re supplying a premier step brand, and HSM customers are pleased we will have their product warehoused nearby in Elkhart County,” he said.
LCI will continue to manufacture a wide array of manual and motorized steps, including its Tread Lite Aluminum Entry Step and its Coachstep Motorized Entry Step. LCI will also debut two new steps at the upcoming Louisville Show.
A legal battle between two Elkhart, Ind.-based RV suppliers, Lippert Components Inc. and AL-KO Axis Inc., is heating up, with a federal judge ruling that parts of AL-KO’s non-compete agreement with a former employee is overly broad.
As reported by the Elkhart Truth, U.S. District Judge Jon DeGuilio ruled last week, that AL-KO’s former vice president of tactical projects, Larry Revelino, can work for Lippert Components. While DeGuilio upheld parts of the non-compete agreement about protecting AL-KO’s business secrets, Revelino had already agreed to do that and had signed a contract with Lippert preventing him from giving away his former employer’s trade secrets.
DeGuilio also prohibited Revelino, Lippert’s new director of international business relations, from trying to recruit AL-KO’s employees, customers or suppliers.
“Mr. Revelino has acknowledged that he is bound by the confidentiality provisions of his employment agreement, and has identified no harm that would come to him from an injunction against his soliciting AL-KO’s customers, supplies or employees,” the judge wrote. “However, the harm that would come to Mr. Revelino from an injunction against his employment entirely would be more substantial, and provides further weight against granting such an injunction at this time.”
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Calling it a “great company,” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence visited the new headquarters of Drew Industries Inc. today (Oct. 2) to help celebrate the relocation of the RV industry’s largest supplier to Elkhart County.
Drew, parent company of Lippert Components Inc. and Kinro Inc., recently completed its previously announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from White Plains, N.Y., to Elkhart, and to expand its Indiana manufacturing operations.
“This is a real success for Elkhart County, and for the state and people of Indiana,” said Gov. Pence, who was joined at the podium by Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore and Goshen City Council President Jim McKee. “This ribbon-cutting reaffirms that the RV market is coming back stronger than ever — and it will be centered here in the state of Indiana for generations to come.”
In introducing the governor, Drew CEO Jason Lippert reflected on the origins of Lippert Components, the division of Drew Industries founded by his grandfather Lawrence C. Lippert in Michigan in 1956. His father, Doug Lippert, took over the company in 1979.
“Drew acquired Lippert in 1997,” Jason noted. “At the time, we were doing about $100 million in sales. Today, Drew is a billion-dollar revenue company — and we’ve grown to more than 5,500 employees nationwide.
“When I started with the company in 1994, we had about 600 employees in Elkhart County and the surrounding areas. I’m proud to say that, today, we have about 4,500 employees in the state of Indiana. We also are the largest supplier to the RV industry. Through Lippert and Kinro and our 50 factories in the U.S., Drew supplies full lines of products to the leading manufacturers of the RV, manufactured housing and specialty vehicle markets.
“To put it best,” he continued, “this new headquarters for all of our leadership teams symbolizes the company’s maturity, strength, and potential. Indiana has a strong and talented workforce, and is home to many of our customers and employees. That’s why Elkhart County was Drew and Lippert’s logical choice for relocation. Our customers are here, our facilities are here, our employees are here — and, now, our national headquarters is here.”
In his remarks, Gov. Pence noted that, “as is being recognized more and more nationally, Indiana is quite simply the best place in America to start a business, grow a business and get a job.
“We’ve been sending a message all across the country for the last eight years and nine months, that Indiana is open for business,” he continued. “We’ve been doing that by making the hard decisions, of living within our means. This last session of the Indiana General Assembly, we passed another honestly balanced budget — more than 12% in our budget are reserves. At a time when many states are struggling, Indiana is showing nearly $2 billion in the bank. In addition to that, we passed the largest state tax cut in history, we declared a moratorium on red tape and Indiana just a few short years ago became the first Midwest state in America to recognize the right to work.
“That, combined with our commitment to education, innovation and reform is making days like this a possibility — and making days like this the right decision for more and more businesses all across America.”
The new facility gives Drew Industries room for growth, with 50,000-square-feet of office space and 110,000-square-feet of manufacturing and warehousing space.
“This new facility allows us to have our executive team under one roof,” Drew President Scott Mereness noted in an accompanying release. “Centralizing our management and shared services personnel will improve communications and cultivate our tradition of long-term team building. It also provides a larger home for Kinro’s thermoforming operation with room for continued expansion.”