Retail sales of Class A motorhomes built by the Georgie Boy Manufacturing unit of Coachmen Industries Inc. were up 14% when the first five months of this year are compared with the same portion of last year, according to Pat Terveer, Georgie Boy’s president.
Consequently, Georgie Boy’s dealers are not expanding their inventories with Georgie Boy product, even though its factory-to-dealer shipments are up 6.2% year-to-date through the end of May, Terveer said on Saturday (June 21) during the company’s national dealer meeting in Tucson, Ariz.
Industrywide, Class A motorhome shipments were up “only 2.3% through May,” so Georgie Boy is outpacing the wholesale market too, Terveer told the dealers gathered at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
“Some of the product changes that we made in the last year and half to try to update the Georgie Boy line-up are starting to payoff,” Terveer said. “There’s a lot of manufacturers out there right now that are shipping more product. But, unlike a lot of other manufacturers, our retail warranty cards that we receive from you (dealers) when we retail a unit, are up 14% versus a year ago.
“So, we’re not building inventory. You guys (dealers) are doing a great job of turning our inventory. And, as you see the (2004) product we’re introducing today, that’s going to continue.”
Georgie Boy, a 35-year-old company that Coachmen acquired in 1995, builds gas-engine Class A’s under the Velocity, Pursuit, Landau and Cruise Master brand names, and the Cruise Air XL and Bellagio diesel pushers .
Georgie Boy, based in Edwardsburg, Mich., operated a diesel-pusher assembly plant in Elkhart, Ind., for about six months in 2000, but there are no plans to reopen the facility, even though Terveer believes Georgie Boy’s volume will continue to increase.
“Based upon the realignment of the facility we are undertaking right now, and based upon some of our quality initiatives, we feel confident we can continue to build diesels at our current Georgie Boy facility,” Terveer said. “We do have plans in the near future to increase our production rate and we think we will be able to build gas and diesel in Edwardsburg.”
The company’s assembly operations in southwest Michigan now are “more efficiently laid out than what we had in the past,” Terveer said. ”We did not have a real good production flow (previously). Some of that is based upon the fact that over the years, there’s been a building and another building’s been added, and another building is added (etc.).
“We’ve reduced the amount of storage we have inside the building to make our production flow a lot leaner and give our associates more room to work on the units, and that will help our efficiency.”
Georgie Boy also has hired a new COO, George Tierce, who has years of experience with lean manufacturing and Kaizen methods, Terveer added.
Tierce has experience at auto industry suppliers and related industries and during the past year, he was the manager of one of Coachmen’s fifth-wheel assembly plants.