Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s RV Group has undergone a major reorganization that decentralized management of its motorhome and travel trailer divisions in Riverside, Calif., and folding camping trailer division in Somerset, Pa.
“We can push the decision-making down further in the organization and be more nimble and react quicker to changes in the marketplace,” said Chris Braun, RV Group executive vice president.
The reorganization follows the March return of retired Fleetwood executive Elden L. Smith who rejoined the company as president and CEO. Smith subsequently divested Fleetwood, which lost $161.5 million during the fiscal year ended June 30, of its retail manufactured housing and finance divisions.
Two new vice presidents were named in the reorganization that occurred during the first week in August – David Warren to oversee motorhomes and Jim Croxton to supervise travel trailers. And Fleetwood Folding Trailers veteran John Green has been designated general manager of the folding trailer division in Pennsylvania.
“The real key is that each group will have directors and staffs for product development, manufacturing and quality and sales,” Braun said.
Warren, previously Fleetwood vice president of engineering and product development for both motorhomes and towables, joined the company in 2003. Croxton went to work for Fleetwood in 1984 and formerly was director of manufacturing for the towable group and most recently a regional general manager for towables.
Green’s experience with the folding trailer division dates back to 1966 and includes experience in sales, product development, manufacturing and marketing.
In addition, Amy Coleman, who has been with Fleetwood since 1996, was promoted from public relations manager to marketing group manager. Her department will market products from all three manufacturing groups, Braun said.
As part of the realignment, workers in Riverside also will be physically relocated depending on the divisions for which they work.
“We are trying to create a more competitive atmosphere between these three groups,” Braun said.
Also, Fleetwood Folding Trailers will discontinue efforts to develop conventional travel trailers, and earlier plans to centralize product distribution and warehouses also have been scrapped, Braun said.
Braun, who Warren and Green report to, previously had four vice presidents reporting to him. He said that efforts to centralize operations in Riverside didn’t work out.
“A lot of decisions had to come up to my level, and in many instances we weren’t making decisions in a timely fashion,” he said.
Another downside, he said, was that with a centralized structure, employees were working across divisions. “We had motorhome people working on motorhomes and travel trailers, and travel trailer people working on travel trailers and folding camping trailers,” Braun said. “Each of those products has its own characteristics and markets. There is no way you can expect someone to understand the features and benefits of all of those products, let alone try to understand what’s going on with your competition.
“The word that we use around here is focus. Now we’ve got guys who are focusing solely on travel trailers, motorhomes and folding trailers.”