Wed Sep 11, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Travel Lite RV President Dustin Johns says a month-long quiet period was a purposeful effort to reevaluate the company’s growth trajectory in light of a slowdown in RV industry sales this year.
In an exclusive interview with RV News, Johns said the company, which first produced RVs in 1998, was not shut down in August and the rumors that swirled around the company’s status for the past month "were just not true."
“Travel Lite went through a period of insane growth–triple-digit growth over five years,” Johns says. “For a company our size, especially with our new production opening in January, that was going to be difficult to sustain.”
In addition to two state-of-the-art production lines built from the ground up, the company hired dozens of new engineers, sales, marketing and administrative staff to match its skyrocketing growth, Johns says.
When the company went quiet last month, several staff members were laid off, he says without providing a figure for personnel reduction. He adds that while hiring talented people comes with a larger business, “we will only hire for what we need today.”
“When the bigger players face an adjustment due to a changing market, they can move production or close a line without skipping a beat. We did not have the ability,” Johns says.
Asked about reports of disconnected phone lines during the quiet period, Johns referred to an issue with the cloud-based telephone system that has since been remedied.
“The phone lines are open and being answered,” he says.
Travel Lite RV will host an exhibit at Elkhart Open House in two weeks. The company plans to have 18 units on display, Johns says.
Production on the two new Travel Lite lines in Syracuse, Ind., has been temporarily suspended, Johns says.
“We expect to restart production Oct. 1.”
As the company leadership considered how to restructure in light of “the changed landscape in the RV industry,” Johns says, it contemplated shuttering one of the two production lines but now sees it can sustain both once the lines are restarted next month.
“We were too focused on growth,” Johns says. “We lost touch with our dealers and that was something we could not afford to let happen.”
So, as Travel Lite emerges from its effort to restructure and produce a sustainable growth model, Johns sees a promising future for the company and its customers.
“This business is still strong,” Johns says. “We have a new, more cautious approach but there is still a ton of room to grow.”