Some RV manufacturers say the pressure on the industry’s transportation channels continues to build and that backlogs of up to six weeks in delivering RVs from factories to dealers are common. But others claim the transportation situation is easing up.
Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind., and Gulf Stream Coach Inc., Nappanee, Ind., are facing up to six-week waits. “The situation has eased up to some extent, but it is still a tight situation,” said Sid Johnson, Jayco’s director of marketing.
As for dealers and customers, adds Johnson, they’ve been relatively patient thus far.
“As we are now into spring and better weather, there is going to be increasing pressure on trying to get the product to the dealership when needed,” he said. “There is absolutely no doubt that the pressure will increase between now and the first of June unless we can provide a more timely service for them.”
In addition to a four-to-six-week shipping backlog, said Phil Savari, executive vice president at Gulf Stream, the market is such that has company is facing a four-to-six-week backlog on manufacturing their towable RVs.
The upside to all of this: Business is good.
“It is the best backlog we’ve had at our company,” he said. “But we are feeling the heat from dealers and customers. Looking at the seasonality of this industry, most of the manufacturing and shipping is happening between January and April. That is when the dealers/manufacturers/suppliers/transport companies gear up.”
Savari would prefer a market that wasn’t so seasonal, but realizes that this is the way things have always been. “What we are experiencing is a good sign right now because the demand is up and I believe more finance companies are going to be loosening up,” he added. “This is the great U.S.A. and people are going to feel confident again.”
Lazydays RV SuperCenter, Seffner, Fla., is also experiencing a backlog in the delivery of towables. “Lazydays has been able to minimize that impact by having a strong relationship with the drive services and even sending our own drivers when needed in order to best serve our customers,” said Sharon Padly, inventory manager.
However, the situation at SunnyBrook RV, Middlebury, Ind., is more fluid.
“Star Fleet is our primary carrier and the most we are out is one week,” said Elvie Fry, president. “Star Fleet is our carrier of choice so that helps. They do take good care of us, plus we are not shipping the higher number of units that some of the other larger companies are. We are shipping an average of 150 towable RV’s a month.”
From a carrier standpoint, Wave Express, Goshen, Ind., earlier this year had a three-week backlog — not as long as some other transport companies, but still more than part-owner Anita Carpenter would prefer. But she says the backlog has now decreased to two weeks.
Honestly it seems it is easing up a little bit,” she said. “Part of that reason is we hired more drivers. We’re still busy. There is plenty of work, but our dispatchers aren’t wanting to pull their hair out. Considering where we were two years ago it is amazing how busy we are.”
Wave Express is shipping 100-125 towables weekly in the U.S. and Canada.
RV Transport Service in Portland, Ore., is only three days backlogged for U.S. deliveries, about a week for Canadian deliveries.
“We’re hiring about one driver a week,” said Leah Dilgarde, general manager. “Our key to not getting backlogged is only accepting the work that we know will be covered in a timely manner. I have turned down work when we don’t have the drivers available, which is probably different from other companies because they’ll take every load they can get, even if they don’t have the drivers available.”