The Recreational Vehicle Aftermarket Association (RVAA) outlined a broad-reaching strategic plan for around 270 members at the 35th Anniversary Executive Conference, Oct. 15-18, at the Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix.
According to RVAA Executive Director Karl Etshied, details of the plan were hammered out during a strategic planning session May 13-14 in Chicago, Ill. The session included input from several industry partners representing RVDA, RVDA of Canada and RVIA.
The initiative, which gained official approval from the RVAA Board of Directors in August, is designed to confront challenges facing the industry and identifies three specific goals: streamlining the warranty process, creating a uniform parts identification process and helping improve education and training industrywide.
“With the help of our industry partners from RVDA and RVIA, our association has now been charged with taking the lead in creating greater efficiency in the warranty process and taking the lead in creating greater efficiency in the parts delivery system,” said RVAA President Ellen Kietzmann of Blue Ox Towing Products, Pender, Neb.
“Our Industry Synergy Committee, chaired by Stan Sunshine of StagParkway, will be involving our industry partners to work toward achieving these goals,” Kietzmann said. “By reaching some standard of resolution with parts delivery and warranty, our customers ‘loyalty to the RV lifestyle will most definitely be improved and enhanced.”
Kietzmann said unity becomes even more paramount as the aftermarket sector, which is enjoying one of its strongest years, continues to grow.
“The aftermarket segment is experiencing the same level of success the rest of the industry has experienced in 2004,” she said. “We are very fortunate to be part of an industry that, by every indication, seems to be on the brink of a huge expansion as RVers experience the lifestyle we are all proud to promote.
“From a sales perspective, while the aftermarket sales in the Canadian provinces have remained strong throughout the year, we did see some softening in the U.S. prior to the election. However, sales have quickly rebounded during the last quarter.”
In addition to the outline of the new strategic plan, several awards were presented during the meeting, which drew over 85% of the organization’s membership.
The awards presentation was highlighted by the Jim Barker Memorial Award for the association’s Person of the Year. RVAA also honored the industry’s pioneers with special lifetime contribution awards. All of the association’s previous presidents and Man of the Year winners were present during the ceremony.
Award winners included the following:
* Jim Barker Memorial Award – George Cargo from Cequent Electrical Products in Tekonsha, Mich. Cargo has served at many levels of the association’s leadership and most recently was RVAA’s president in 2002 and 2003.
* Supplier of the Year – Blue Ox.
* Distributor of the Year – StagParkway Inc., Atlanta, Ga.
* Canadian Distributor of the Year – Coast Distribution.
* Dealer’s Choice Distributor of the Year – StagParkway.
* Manufacturer’s Agent of the Year – RVLI of Agoura Hills, Calif.
* RVAA Distributor Catalog of the Year – StagParkway.
* Most Improved Catalog for 2004 – NTP Distribution, Wilsonville, Ore.
* Website Excellence – supplier Blue Ox and distributor Bell Industries, Eagan, Minn.