How USA’s #1 Dealer of the Year Uses Actionable Data to Repair RVs Faster

Crestview RV LogoWhen their RV takes a month or more to get fixed, customers get understandably frustrated. Rather than accepting it and saying “it is what it is” across the industry, forward-thinking dealers are trying to slash repair times and fix 25% of RVs within a day or 50% within a week.

Crestview RV, with three locations around Austin, Texas, including Buda, Georgetown and Waco, is part of a group of dealers who are making a change. Started in 1982 in Austin, Crestview stocks the most sought-after brands, with one of its locations covering a whopping 25 acres of land. They are the largest and most modern RV complex in Texas and the surrounding states.

Together with a likeminded group of dealers, Crestview is trying to create faster repair times for the industry as a whole, using data and Six Sigma methodology. We recently sat down and chatted to Mike Regan, President and General Manager of Crestview RV, to learn how his dealership was able to pinpoint bottlenecks within its service department and speed up unit repairs using the award-winning Repair Event Cycle Time (RECT) reports.

Mike Regan Crestview RVHow would you say your service department sets itself apart from everyone else?

Mike:  “We have a lot of certified technicians in our large service department. Two of our locations have 25 to 30 technicians each.”

What makes a good service department?

Mike:  “It’s the same thing that any of our customers would answer – fix the unit right, fix it on time, fix it as promised and for a fair price. That’s what our customers are demanding today.

Our industry has improved, but customers’ expectations have increased at the same rate or even faster than we can support. The customers are demanding that we fix their units correctly the first time, and we fix it when we promised so that they can go camping.”

What are some of the biggest challenges that you’re facing at your service department?

Mike:  “The industry is facing a shortage of technicians, and we are not alone in that. The body shop industry, the auto industry and the telecoms repairing cellphone towers all face the same thing. The workforce is very thin.

Although there’s been a lot of headway made in the area of getting parts from manufacturers – that continues to be a pitfall in our industry. Dealers need the parts either undamaged or correct on a timely basis to repair the RVs.”

Crestview RV Facility

What challenges does the RECT reports help you address right now?

Mike:  “It was shocking to see what the average repair event cycle time was; I’ve seen them as high as 50 days for a warranty ticket. If the part wasn’t in stock, it would take up to 55 days. It was very eye-opening to see that it wasn’t just one example. It was across the board. The average was 30, 40 or 50 days.

So, it was very insightful to see the lead time in writing, and it gave us some true data that we could work on, as an industry, to fix.

Repair Event Cycle
Could you talk a little bit in terms of how the report helps you with warranty coverage and parts availability?

Mike:  “We would like to take care of 25% of our customers within one day and have 50% of our customers taken care of within one week. The industry standard has been for customers to drop their unit off at an RV dealership and it would sit here for a month before it’s repaired and ready to get back to them.

As an industry, we need to do better than that. By tracking these pain points, whether it’s the time it takes on the dealer’s lot, the time it takes us to order a part, or the time it takes for us to get the part in, we can all work to improve those.

RECT has helped us recognize some of the bottlenecks. ‘How long does it take for us to even look at a unit from when it first comes in?’ That’s on the dealer to figure out. My friend has an expression: ‘You have to look in the mirror before you look out the window.’ As dealers, we have to look in the mirror and make sure that we’re doing everything correctly.

The same is true for each of the manufacturers. When they get this data, they’ll be able to look in their own mirror and see where they’re at compared to the industry.”

Crestview RV ShowroomSo, have you seen any changes since you started looking at the data?

Mike:  “Some of the manufacturers’ programs allow us to use parts off the shelf instead of having to wait for a part to come in from the south part of Indiana and get transported all the way to Texas. We can also have some parts sent to a local parts supplier.

When we order parts through our manufacturer, they get shipped from a local distributor in a local warehouse. So, I would guess that 90% of the locations have access to those parts within the next day. So, if I order a part today, then that’s here at 10:00 in the morning, for example.”

How much has RECT contributed to the overall success of your service department and dealership as a whole?

Mike: “It put a spotlight on an issue that’s been affecting our entire industry. So, now that we know the exact effects of the key service bottlenecks, I’m excited to start working with manufacturers to fix them.”

 

IDS RECT RVDA RVIA

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