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 .
Mon Jun 5, 2017
In 30 years, Pulliam Enterprises, who does business as PullRite, has carved out a significant niche for itself in the fifth wheel hitch market, using 100 percent American-made products all made from the company’s two facilities in Mishawaka and Elkhart, Indiana.
By the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018, PullRite will add onto the main facility in Mishawaka, which is expected to more than double the company’s footprint at its original building.
PullRite National Sales Manager Scott Later says the expansion comes from the exceptional growth the company has seen over the years, particularly over the last couple of years when the RV market has been stronger than ever.
“The major reason is that, over the course of the last several years, we have experienced tremendous growth and acceptance of our product lines among the fifth wheel consumers,” Later says. “It’s grown throughout 2016, which was the best year in volume in the company’s 30-year history.”
The ground and dirt work has started on the expansion, with the footings laid and construction is continuing. Later says the crews have knocked out both the north and south walls and are expanding out both ways, which will add more than double the space to the facility. The added space is designated mainly for research and development, but there are other uses that the space will be put to as well.
“Engineering will be one of the main benefactors of this additional space,” Later says. “That is complementary to our commitment to being an innovator in the fifth wheel hitch category. They will be the biggest benefactor. That includes engineering, R&D and testing. A new testing facility will be included in the square footage. The rest of it will go into production. We’re expanding our robotic welders and our laser cutters. We’re operating at max capacity with this current facility and we’re building for our future.”
The expansion is definitely going to add employees to PullRite, but Later says he’s not sure how many, because that will be determined by how much the demand for the products continues to grow and an analysis of how many employees it would take to operate at full efficiency.
“We’re constantly growing and our employee base is constantly growing,” Later says. “This was a decision that was necessitated by our growth. Once the dust settles, and we get closer to that facility, we’ll have a better idea.”
PullRite has been able to navigate a hectic demand from the RV market with its planning and efficiency. With a two-step distribution, PullRite has to constantly be months ahead of the curve.
“We don’t experience the peaks and valleys that are symptomatic of our industry,” he says. “We’ve become much more level in our production. We’ve changed our manufacturing, leveled it out, to be six, seven months ahead of the demand curve. The distribution necessitates a lot of time and we have to be ahead of that curve.”
While the RV market continues to be in hectic demand and no ceiling for the enthusiasm is in sight, PullRite continues to stay true to its founder’s vision of American-made products.
“We fly the flag pretty high at PullRite,” Later says. “The investment from the Pulliam family is our commitment to staying true to the U.S. manufacturing heritage and we’ve never gone off shore, or even off site in our 30 years. Not only is that an investment in U.S. manufacturing, but it’s a vote of confidence to the RV industry for continued growth and the lifestyle to expand its popularity for consumers.”