The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Thu May 11, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen
A struggle facing many in the RV industry nationwide is the continued delay of product availability. With labor shortages in the industry affecting nearly every corner of the country, orders from dealerships continue to pile up for manufacturers and part suppliers, without the necessary hands and bodies to catch up.
David Hayes of Hayes RV Center in Longview, Texas, says the problem has the potential to get even worse. The lead times are already at a quarter of a year, but with no chance for the manufacturers to catch up without a significant hiring spree, the industry may continue to fall even further behind.
“From a dealership standpoint, the lead times are very, very long,” Hayes says. “There are challenges with the back end of the business, as far as parts availability goes. The manufacturers are running more behind than traditional as far as being able to provide us with back end support we need to take care of our customers. Lead times are common with all manufacturers, but the demand from the dealers has increased and it’s been challenging for them (the manufacturers) to keep up.”
Hayes mentions that the slew of dealership expansions have only added to the increased demand on the manufacturers and even though efforts have been made from many dealers to make it easier on the manufacturers, most of those efforts have failed.
“It makes it a little difficult to forecast what we are needing when our lead times are out three, four and even five months.”
One strategy Hayes has employed to battle the decreased availability is to bulk up with a large variety of products during the slower months so when the busier times come, the dealership isn’t waiting for the better part of several months to finally get a product into the hands of the end consumer.
“We found in the early to mid-summer that when there’s no availability, we needed to bulk up in the winter the products we could so that we have it when we need it,” Hayes says. “We have a large backlog of inventory.”
Even with the strategy of bulking up in the winter months, dealerships can’t predict all the products and parts they will need during the summer rush.
“There’s still product that we would like to have and it’s taking anywhere from eight to 16 weeks to arrive,” Hayes says.
Hayes is the Texas state delegate for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and he says the product availability and long lead times is pretty widespread throughout the state, and, he imagines, the country.
With increased demand on the front end and an excitement reaching new highs from RV consumers, the dealerships are busier than ever, which is generally a good problem to have. Hayes says the first of the year started a little slower than last year, but has more than made up for it as spring has arrived. Additionally, motor homes have been slower than last year, but the towables are picking up the slack.
Hayes RV Center sells models from Jayco, Forest River, Keystone, Heartland and more. Hayes says the top sellers have been Jayco products as well as the Forest River Cherokee.
However, the problem still persists that with increased demand on the front end and decreased labor hands on the back, lead times could continue to be a problem for the industry.