The 12-hour trade show

(Dec. 5, 2012) — There is no question any more that the National RV Trade Show is a day-and-a-half show at best. The third day has always been problematic for suppliers because so many people leave early. But, trends in recent years seem to suggest that the second day of the show is also lacking in appeal. Many are concerned about declining attendance among buyers at the show — the golden geese everyone want to attract to their displays. Here is my theory as to why the dealers aren’t showing up or aren’t sticking around when they do.

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Change, or die — it’s that simple

(Nov. 16, 2012) — Carroll noted that 65 percent of today’s preschoolers will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet. As hard as that is to believe, he also noted that half of the information college freshman learn in class is obsolete by the time they graduate. Media mogul Rupurt Murdoch once said, “The world is changing very fast. big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” The RV industry will gather in 11 days for the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. It will be very interesting to see how much the RV industry has embraced new technology.

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Doug Gaeddert

Gaeddert looks forward to leading RVIA team

(Nov. 15, 2012) — As I begin my term as RVIA chairman, I would like to thank the RVIA Board of Directors for their vote of confidence in electing me. I am looking forward to leading this selfless group of individuals who dedicate their talents and time for the greater good of the RV industry.

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RVs better positioned that boats going into 2013

(Nov. 14, 2012) — Companies are telling me that the RV industry is more stable with a more favorable demographic. While RV sales remain solid among older adults with better financial resources and better credit, the primary target for boat sales remains younger men and families. Although there are lots of things to worry about in the coming months, I’ve been told the RV industry is in a much better position to attract buyers going forward simply because of the flexibility RVs offer to consumers.

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Should RV dealers be wholesale distributors?

Giving a regional dealer network the ability to buy aftermarket products at wholesale prices would give that company a significant price advantage online and in their stores that other single-location mom-and-pop dealerships could not achieve on their own.

Personally, I think the RV industry’s two-step distribution model works extremely well in quickly getting parts and accessories from suppliers to dealers via warehouse distributors. Why would we as an industry want to throw a wrench into that well-oiled machine?

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How prepared are you?

(Nov. 7, 2012) — Given the events of the past week, now is a good time to review your emergency preparedness. More likely it would be a wildfire barreling down on your park rather than a hurricane. At least with hurricanes you have two or three days’ notice of impending doom. With a wildfire, you will be lucky to have two hours’ notice.

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Please exercise your right — and duty — to vote

(Nov. 5, 2012) — It seems almost cliché to say that the future of our country rides on the outcome of tomorrow’s election. But, every year, the nation seems to march one step away from its roots as a democratic republic toward the darkness of socialism. I don’t know how much more tolerance our economy and society can absorb before it is broken beyond repair. 

If government dependency continues to rise at the same rate it has the past 20 years, within four short years 50.1 percent of Americans will be fully reliant upon some sort of government money, benefits or services. When that happens, this country will never be the same again.

Please vote tomorrow — and vote responsibly.

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Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced

(Nov. 1, 2012) — How can good come from all this strife? One way is to remove those in our organization who continually foment turmoil. You know the ones… they think they are “fireproof.” Often they contribute what seems like a lot but when you count the cost of all the effort to keep ‘em happy, it just isn’t worth it. There has never been a better time to improve staff. 

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Don’t we already have a “secretary of business”

(Nov. 2, 2012) — President Obama last week suggested that if he were given another four years in he White House, he would create a “secretary of business,” to help spur industry and job creation. The president believes the new position would streamline government agencies and business-related services under one central authority.

“We should have one secretary of business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to (the Small Business Administration) or helping companies with exports,” Obama told MSNBC.

Excuse me, but what does Gary Locke, the sitting secretary of commerce do, if not seek to create a business-friendly environment for American industry? Perhaps, President Obama thinks the secretary of commerce kills jobs, while a secretary of business would create them.

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It is time to privatize all state, federal parks

(Oct. 31, 2012) — Here we go again!  News yesterday is that the federal budget cuts coming in January were going to be so catastrophic that the National Park Service will bear the brunt of the non-defense spending cuts slated to go into effect Jan. 1. Rather than the federal government pushing national parks over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” its time for citizens to get the government out of the most popular and most important tourist attractions in our country.

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Are we overreliant upon technology?

(Oct. 30, 2012) — Computers are wonderful devices. They make my life so much simpler, and allow me to be much more productive than I could have been 15 years ago. It is safe to assume that this publication wouldn’t be anything like it is today, if technology didn’t enable me and my team to collect and disseminate the news.

Yesterday, a wicked, nasty storm plunged much of New England into medieval darkness and millions of people are now likely reflecting upon how big a role technology plays in their lives. I fear we are all becoming so addicted to our gadgets that younger people are fearful to do anything without a computer crutch — even something as simple as placing an order for 12 chicken wings and a Diet Pepsi.

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Do RV manufacturers contribute to DMV confusion?

It is absolutely ridiculous for RV makers to be introducing 2014 models in June of 2012. Rather than making the companies look like innovative market leaders, they wind up portraying the companies as marketing hucksters. Those kind of games also hurt RV dealers when a 2014 model built on a 2011 chassis winds up on a dealer lot in June of 2012 — and immediately slashes the value of the dealer’s 2012 and 2013 inventory. 

There has got to be a better way to segment new products than by taking on a new model year designation whenever a floorplan is changed. Perhaps OEMs need to take a lesson from software companies and simply designate new models as version numbers, like 8.0.

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Donna the deer lady

(Oct. 22, 2012) — A woman named Donna from Fargo, N.D., has a solution for preventing deer vs. vehicle accidents. This has nothing to do with RVs, but it will bring a smile to your face.

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Will Americans become the Chinese working class?

(Oct. 22, 2012) — This video seems to back up its facts with quotes from GM officers. And I don’t think its a stretch at all that the U.S. government would invest $80 billion into Chinese companies who will use their profits to buy up U.S. manufacturing plants and resources here in America. A few years ago, someone suggested that Americans will one day be the working class for the Chinese middle class. That may be a more prophetic statement than it appeared at the time.

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What’s happening at Thor?

(Oct. 16, 2012) — Just knowing how most companies orchestrate the departure of its chief financial officer, the speed and timing of the Thor announcement is unusual. It’s not that anything strange is going on with the company itself. It’s just that the announcement itself raises more questions than were answered in the official release.

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Oh, nuts — that’s customer service

(Oct. 9, 2012) — A couple of weeks ago, I had problems connecting to a TengoInternet managed wireless system at an Indiana campground. After a frustrating experience with the company’s tech support team, I sent an e-mail to the company’s CEO and co-founder. After getting what I thought was a boilerplate response, I was surprised with the level of followup the company provided. Not only did it knock my socks off, it proved to me that fast, honest problem resolution can often do more to improve brand loyalty  than simply providing the level of service a customer expects. 

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Central Florida dealership seeks sales manager

(Oct. 2, 2012) — High customer satisfaction and leadership ability a must. Must be able to hire and train sales team, manage leads and follow-up, control & manage inventory at a minimum.  Applicant must also have an excellent track record in this position.

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If You’ve Got Chassis Questions, FCCC Has the Answers

There is nothing like talking RVs with other people who share a passion for the lifestyle and appreciate a quality motorcoach. FCCC experts are always more than happy to share their knowledge at RV rallies, but FCCC has plenty of other ways to answer questions and help you get the most out of your RV. For instance, check out a YouTube tutorial on setting the clock on your FCCC chassis message center.

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