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 .
Fri Sep 8, 2017
Elkhart, Ind. — StateWide Windows of Elkhart, Indiana has reported that its 190-plus employees have worked more than one million hours without a lost time injury. The firm builds windows for the recreational vehicle, truck cap and livestock trailer industries.
“In addition to our milestone of a million hours since our last lost time accident, year-to-date we have had zero recordable injuries at StateWide,” StateWide Director of Operations Doug Eberlein says. “Actually, we are currently at 10 months straight without a recordable injury. This shows we have strong momentum in recognizing safety as a core value to our business.”
Eberlein explained that in a business category in which accidents are statistically high, the metal extrusion and glass production segment, StateWide’s core value of “Safety” has yielded significant results.
“Safety has to be recognized as a core value in the organization,” he says. “You can’t say safety is a priority because priorities tend to get shifted. You have to have a good foundation and a safety culture. Our team members understand that they are responsible for the 60-square-feet in front of them. We empower them to raise their hand or stop production when an unsafe event takes place.”
He said that every morning StateWide has a pre-shift meeting to discuss key process measures and that meeting always starts with safety.
“Every week we have a general theme that is drafted into five daily topics to start the shift each day,” Eberlein says. “We walk the floors weekly with the team members and look for safety issues. We get their input and ask questions.
“As an example of team member engagement; if an operator has a machine that is leaking oil, they have the authority to say ‘stop’ and lock out the machine until it is corrected. By taking this stance, it has really gained momentum and belief within the facilities that safety is a core business value at StateWide.”
Involvement of the Human Resources department and a systemized approach to resolution is also key.
“It’s about problem resolve and resolution,” StateWide Human Resources Manager Angel Kaper says. “If an employee has a problem on the line we have a PRR (Problem Resolve and Resolution) request form that starts the process to make it better. The employee initiates the process. So it’s not us dictating to them what needs to be done.”
Kaper says that each year there is a safety theme complete with T-shirts for the team.
“They vote on the theme. Stuff like that that we implement every year that has an impact. This year it’s ‘Accidents bring jeers; Safety brings cheers,’” she says.
Eberlein says that StateWide’s safety culture starts from the top at TAG Corporation.
“We have great corporate support from Truck Accessories Group,” he says. “We have a monthly corporate safety steering committee meeting that pulls all the business units together from Indiana, California, Pennsylvania and Washington to collaborate on safety. So if there is an injury in another business unit, we all talk about it and understand the root cause so we can look at our own business unit to see if we can address things and be proactive.”
He says the parent company, JBPCo also conducts surprise inspections to assure compliance to Federal, State and Corporate EH&S Policy.
“Our team members are aware that when we have an issue, it will get attention all the way to corporate,” he says. “We openly talk about it, investigate it and fix it.”
There are cost benefits to making safety a core value.
“It has a correlation to the bottom line,” Eberlein says. “Whether you are self-insured or you are insured through a third party, your rates are predicated on safety. So if your facility is in a position where people are getting hurt daily, you are either going to have increased insurance rates the following year or you will get dropped or have to seek another insurance company. If you’re self-insured then you’re paying for those injuries right out of pocket – both translate directly to the bottom line.
“But the most important factor is our people know we care. The longer we run this program, the more faith we have from the shop floor to the management team that we do truly care about their well-being. As your team has a sense of security and safety, the more ingrained your work force becomes in believing in the organization, and you become a better organization because of it.”
The company is planning an event to celebrate both its one million hour milestone and its team’s adoption of a new internal computer business system.
“It’s a dual purpose milestone celebration if you will,” Eberlein says. “We are also launching a business system through JD Edwards, so we will do that in combination of hitting that million hour mark with a big celebration company-wide.”