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Australian compliance foundation essential to drive RV industry future says forthright Blueprint

August 08, 2012
Australian compliance foundation essential to drive RV industry future says forthright Blueprint

Consumers have no easy way of knowing where to take caravans that require repair a CTIAVic Blueprint for the Victorian Caravan and Camping Industry says.

The roll-out of an industry-wide Quality Program is linked to a recommendation for improved enforcement of compliance.

The Victorian Caravan and Camping Industry (CTIAVic) has launched the Blueprint for the continued growth of the industry. CTIAVic and the Government of Victoria- Department of Manufacturing funded the forthright Blueprint which has resounding national implications.

Compliance is the primary responsibility of the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA) which makes it important that the RVMAA be strongly led, have a clearly understood mandate across the industry to drive standards and be well supported by the state and national associations.

The Blueprint calls for accredited repairers and dealers with continued encouragement of staff trained through the national body representing Recreational Vehicle (RV) manufacturers in Australia, RVMAA.

Specifically the alignment of all standards across Australia is put forward among specifications to improve the quality and compliance foundation of the industry.

Attempts through the RVMAA, which incorporates the relevant design standards, have been widely seen by the industry as a toothless tiger, although recently the RVMAA has begun the process of making changes to improve its reputation and improve compliance outcomes the Blueprint says.

The Blueprint set Australia's major RV builder Jayco apart in its ability to go it alone, fund and carry through its own research and development. The industry has a somewhat one-sided structure, with one very large manufacturer, several players who are smaller by a significant order of magnitude and then a very large number of smaller manufacturers, the Blueprint says. But it observes compliant manufacturers,have higher costs and often have to wear the industry reputation affects of failed backyard operators.

Imported components that do not meet the relevant standards are also a growth problem and manufacturers cite examples of components that have been imported from China which they say have been copied from Australian designed originals (in some cases the copies even duplicate Australian certification and part numbers), but may not comply with Australian standards for quality, the Blueprint says.

Compliance is seen by most quality committed industry as the issue which most requires focus. The Blueprint's current assessment is that most industry participants have a passion for the industry and are engaged with its basic value propositions.

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Leadership is an issue and until the Blueprints release this month no clear vision or direction for the industry was in place. It is the nature of the industry that when the biggest manufacturers are excluded caravan manufacturing displays low measurable productivity.

The Blueprint says this is only about $122,000 of revenue per employee as opposed to $204,000 revenue per employee for the boat building sector. Overall margins in the dealer network are quite thin; IBIS estimates that the average margin as a percentage of revenue is around 3.5 percent.

The Blueprint reports that Victoria is the national manufacturing centre for the caravan and camping industry, which in total generates more than $1.4 billion in revenue for Victoria and employs more than 5,150 people across 800 Trade businesses and 3,000 people within 500 caravan, holiday and tourist parks. The industry has enjoyed a record of growth at or around 10 percent per annum over the last 15 years. Victoria now has 131,000 registered caravans and campervans which respresent 26.6 percent of Australia's total registrations.

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