Opinion: Uncovering RECT’s Great Divide

A picture of Don Miller, senior data consultant at Constellation Dealer Group and IDS

Not all RVs are created equally, especially when considering Repair Event Cycle Times (RECT).

In the IDS database, we see various RVs within the motorized and towable categories. Park models and tiny towables such
as pop-up campers, fish houses, A-frames, teardrop trailers and truck campers are included as well. We also see many utility trailers, which encompass cargo trailers, dump trailers, boat trailers, flat beds and more.

How does RECT vary between different RV categories? The numbers may surprise you.

Between motorized RVs and towables, the RECT gap is growing.

Until recently, RECT varied slightly between towable and motorized vehicles. However, over the last six months, a sizable difference has begun separating these two vehicle categories. During the first half of the year, the average towable RV RECT averaged 46 days compared with motorized RVs, which averaged 39 days during the same time. The national average in the first six months was 42 days.

What is causing the new gap?

The two main bottlenecks affecting RECT are warranty coverage and out-of-stock parts. Some of the biggest differences between towable and motorized vehicle cycle times is the bottlenecks’ impact, especially when considering warranty coverage.

Let’s look at the warranty coverage breakdown in numbers.

According to our reports, 56% of work orders for towable RVs included warranty coverage. The total compares to just 38% of work orders for motorized RVs.

Towables not only had a higher warranty coverage percentage but towable RVs also had longer warranty cycle times, averaging 59 days compared with 53 days for motorized RVs. The national warranty coverage average was 57 days.

When we investigate out-of-stock parts, the gap between towable RVs and motorized RVs is even wider.

For both motorized RVs and towable RVs, about 25% of work orders needed an out-of-stock part. Cycle times, however, moved further apart. Towable RVs averaged 98 days RECT with out-of-stock parts. Motorized RVs averaged 82 days RECT, nearly three work weeks shorter turnaround times.

The national out-of-stock parts average was 93 days.

Drilling down further into the data, we can see a clear difference in RECT between gas and diesel engines.

Reviewing work orders for Type A motorhomes completed over the last six months shows a sharp distinction in RECT for brands producing diesel pushers versus brands producing gas-powered Type A motorhomes. Cycle times for brands with diesel engines averaged 40 days compared with 48 days for brands with gas engines.

Looking at the service bottlenecks according to engine type shows a greater disparity.

For a job or part covered under warranty, Type A RVs with diesel engines averaged 48 days. Type A RVs with gas engines averaged 63 days, again a difference of more than two work weeks.

When at least one part was out of stock, diesel brand cycle times averaged 76 days, 14 fewer days than gas engines’ 90-day average. Also note that the percentage of work orders affected by these bottlenecks was about even, with 30% needing an out-of-stock part and 40% with warranty coverage.

Which RV categories have the longest and shortest RECT?

You may or may not be surprised to learn toy haulers topped the RECT charts for overall cycle time, warranty cycle time and out-of-stock parts cycle time. Meanwhile, Type B RVs had the shortest RECT across the board.

Overall RECT: Fifth wheel toy haulers had the longest RECT of all RV categories, averaging 62 days, or 18 days more than the overall average. Meanwhile, Type B motorhomes were the quickest, averaging just 36 days, 12 days fewer than the overall average.

Warranty RECT: Fifth wheel toy haulers averaged 77 days, 20 days more than the overall average, making it the category with the longest RECT. Type B RVs averaged 46 days, 11 days below the overall average.

Out-of-stock RECT: Fifth wheel toy haulers again had the longest cycle times, averaging 102 days. However, the RECT time was only seven days more than the overall average, much closer to other categories than warranty or overall RECT. Type A and B RVs saw the shortest out-of-stock cycle times, both averaging 81 days, 15 days below the overall average.

What can you do with these data insights?

The first step to addressing a bottleneck at your dealership is to know where the bottleneck is. Track your RECT and how warranty claims and out-of-stock parts impact cycle times. By tracking these main bottlenecks, you will have a better understanding of how your RECT times are affected and what you can do to improve them.

Also, tracking your results will enable you to determine if any changes in procedure are having the desired effect.

Next, you will want to know how your RV cycle times compare with your competitors’. Using this data, you can then prioritize your dealership’s efforts in the right areas to stay competitive in today’s market.

Remember, your data is like gold, so mine the data often.

At IDS, we have launched a new monthly Dealership Industry Insights report to help you benchmark your dealership’s performance against other dealers across the nation. The report includes a warranty cycle and out-of-stock-parts cycle times breakdown.

In the latest June report, we reviewed 40,288 work orders. The national average RECT was 36 days but varied slightly by region. In the South, the average RECT was 35 days. In the Northeast, the average RECT rose to 39 days.

Just under half (49%) of all work orders were under warranty coverage, with 22% requiring out-of-stock parts.

Regional differences also played out in RECT bottleneck areas. The national warranty coverage RECT average was 49 days. In the South, the average was 47 days, while in the Midwest the average soared to 53 days.

Similarly, out-of-stock parts RECT averaged 85 days nationally but averaged 81 days in the South and 94 days in the Midwest.

Beyond RECT, the monthly report also provides financial information for the industry. The report tracks more than 300 dealerships nationally, showing monthly sales revenue declining from 2021 in April, May and June. In June, IDS’ report found sales down 19% from June 2021, and just 1% higher than June 2020. Monthly year-over-year revenues were higher from July 2021 through February 2022.

You can access the free report at https://www.ids-astra.com/services/dealership-industry-insights/.

Don Miller is a senior data consultant at Constellation Dealer Group. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Miller provides training, consulting and analytical services to dealerships. He specializes in data analysis and worked extensively to educate dealerships on adopting a data-driven decision model. Miller created the IDS RECT report, an RVDA Chairman’s Service Award-winning report. The report is used globally by dealerships to deliver better customer experiences.

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