Road trips have long been an American tradition since the days self-proclaimed vagabonds like Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone traveled the countryside in automobiles modified for camping excursions.
Since the birth of the RV in 1910, RV ownership in the U.S. has risen to include over 11% of American households (The Adventure Travelers).
Overcoming the Top Challenges in RV Manufacturing
Growth has been seen in the RV industry as workers take advantage of tight labor markets, increasing income trends and low debt-to-income ratios required for these luxury purchases. So much so, that the RV Industry Association Quarterly Forecast expects 2022 to be the second-best year for shipments on record.
While demand continues to grow, factors such as rising competition, changing customer needs, parts availability, rising inflation and a limited labor pool have plant managers struggling to adapt. As a result, we have seen an uptick in manufacturers seeking help in the following areas:
- To increase productivity and efficiency
- To reduce production bottlenecks
- To improve material quality and performance
- Finding vendors with optimum response time
- Adoption of cutting-edge technologies and solutions
We understand different applications have different requirements. The knowledgeable experts at LINC Systems take time to evaluate your production lines and job needs before making any fastener or material recommendations. Here are a couple of the most common RV manufacturing pain points we can alleviate labor shortages and design changes.
Automation is Key for RV Manufacturers Grappling with Labor Shortages
A limited labor pool has impacted nearly all businesses, especially those in the travel and automotive industry. According to an article in Campendium, nearly 86% of RVs manufactured in 2021 rolled off an assembly line in or near Elkhart, Indiana. Home-grown manufacturing is a great thing, especially with RV manufacturing up 20% from years past. However, a tight labor market can make finding key talent a major challenge.
Worker availability coupled with ongoing supply chain issues put added pressure on manufacturers looking to keep up with record demand – leading to longer production cycles and lead times.
Automated fastening lines, weld lines, laser cutting systems as well as automated loading and unloading stations are just a few robotic solutions RV manufacturers are banking on to operate more efficiently in a tight labor market. Automation offers the added benefit of bringing more manufacturing back to small towns across the U.S. and reskill employees for other positions.
Managing RV Design Changes
With growth comes challenges and consumer needs can vary greatly among buyers. Some buyers are looking for high-tech amenities like air conditioning and high-efficiency appliances when it comes to selecting the right RV for their needs. Other buyers are interested in pursuing boondocking activities (camping outside designated campgrounds). These specific buyers are looking for non-negotiable options like bigger water tanks as well as solar panels and lithium-ion batteries to be used as alternative energy sources.
Historically, consumers were on their own if they wanted features like these and were forced to install them after purchase. Today, savvy buyers expect these add-ons when they sign on the dotted line. Innovative manufacturers and dealers have spotted these opportunities and have begun offering the right product mix to meet these growing and changing demands.
LINC Systems reps and technicians have the expertise to help you navigate these design changes and ensure RV manufacturers produce quality product reliably and consistently.
LINC Helps Navigate Fastener and Material Adaptations
- Roofing applications: We can help select the right fastener for reliable roofing connections from rubber to aluminum.
- Flooring applications: We identify fastening solutions that prevent the loosening of fasteners due to vibration issues, common with floor joints.
- Leaking roofs: When a customer is looking to minimize leaks in roofing connection, we often recommend UFO Nails for improved sealing capabilities.
- Aluminum fasteners: We help identify the right coated or galvanized fastening solutions for use in aluminum applications.
Note: The UFO Nail combines the advantages of collated nails with the benefits of a screw. Not only does this fastener speed up production time and decrease labor costs, but it also decreases the chance of creating a bad seal common with regular collated nails (an important aspect when connecting roofing components).
Other times, manufacturers may be looking for increased durability in their manufacturing and assembly processes. In some cases, we recommend the 97 Series Staplers from BEA Fasteners for increased durability and better holding power when an aluminum staple is desired.
In addition to these options, LINC Systems offers a wide selection of fasteners that help save time, decrease labor costs, reduce recalls and offer better holding power in wood-to-wood applications as well as fiberglass and metal. We carry top-rated brands like:
LINC System Partners with RV Manufacturers for Better Profitability
Looking for a way to keep up with record-high demand without sacrificing quality and profit? We understand the pain points and production bottlenecks facing RV manufacturers and have developed customized solutions that address those needs. Our service team has decades of experience working with RV manufacturers and assemblers to help them work more productively and profitably.
LINC Systems offers national coverage that includes:
- Onsite evaluations
- Preventative maintenance programs and onsite repair
- Proper fastener and tool selection for better assembly
- Automated solutions for improved production rates
- Tool demonstrations, testing and cost analysis
- Safety training
We carry thousands of products from top-rated manufacturers including fasteners, fastening tools, industrial supplies, packaging supplies, coding supplies and PPE. We also work side-by-side with automated equipment manufacturers to outfit your production lines with state-of-the-art solutions for your fastening and packaging needs.
The Future of the RV Industry: LINC Systems Can Help You Meet Demand
The biggest boom for RV-ing happened during the lengthy pandemic, as people were restricted from traditional travel. The average hotel or resort vacation was put on hold as people sought different ways to take in the scenery and relieve stress. Outdoor travel suddenly became more popular.
As more people retire and flexible work conditions continue, many consumers are considering RVs as viable options for both travel and relocation. Additionally, RVs like campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels and high-end motorized homes have been popular alternatives for permanent living arrangements or for those wishing to live off the grid.
LINC Systems can help RV manufacturers to keep up with the demand and design changes while improving productivity and quality. We can help you identify the right tools, fasteners and accessories you need to work smarter and safer.
If you have any questions regarding fastener selection, please contact us today!
LINC Systems is proud to carry a variety of packaging products, fasteners and industrial supplies from top-rated brands. We also have the services you need to manage your operations more efficiently. If you would like to consolidate your supply needs and start saving time and money, contact us today by calling 800.513.9918 or visit LINCsystems.com.