Ed Caudill, the new president and CEO of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., feels fortunate to have joined the RV and manufactured home-builder while its RV Group is in the midst of a turnaround, he told investment analysts during a conference call last week.
“Many times a company that has been through trying times loses its best talent,” Caudill said during the conference call. “But that isn’t the case here. When I walk around – and I manage and lead by walking around – I see bright, dedicated and industrious people. I’m proud to work with them.
“Sustained consistent profitability is the management team’s No. 1 goal, which we believe breeds all good things,” he continued. “I lead for profitability. My record at (truck manufacturer) PACCAR underscores the benefits of that focus.
“It’s evident I stepped into a much improved situation,” Caudill said. “What our associates have been doing under the leadership of our senior management before I arrived has been working. I consider it my job to fully support those initiatives that are effective and quickly fix or close initiatives that aren’t.
“And to keep everyone focused on what we’re here to do: To make money for our stakeholders while providing our customers with products and services that exceed their expectations.”
During the conference call, Caudill and other Fleetwood executives explained the company’s financial performance during the three months ended July 28, the first quarter of Fleetwood’s fiscal year 2003.
At that time, Fleetwood revealed that its first fiscal quarter net loss was much smaller than Wall Street anticipated and that it will achieve breakeven to slightly profitable financial results for the quarter that will end in late October.
A dramatic 63% improvement in Fleetwood’s motorhome sales revenue during the May-through-July period was a big part of the improving financial picture, said Caudill and Boyd Plowman, Fleetwood’s CFO.
Robust sales of the recently redesigned Pace Arrow and Southwind gas-engine Class A’s made a significant contribution to the motorhome revenue growth, Caudill said. “We expect the recently completed redesigns of the Bounder and Discovery, our best-selling gas and diesel products respectively, will generate a similar positive customer response,” he added.
Meanwhile, there were 3,930 motorhome units in inventory on Fleetwood dealers’ lots as of last week, up from 3,190 units a year earlier, said Chuck Wilkinson, executive vice president-operations.
Wilkinson said he would like to see Fleetwood’s motorhome dealer inventory grow to around 5,000 units.