Mike Keller, president of Keller Marine and RV, Port Trevorton, Pennsylvania, discussed how to improve Repair Event Cycle Times and COVID-19’s impact on his company and the industry during an interview with Tony Kindelspire on RVPro’s podcast In Tow.
Keller grew up in his family’s marine and RV business and offers unique insight into the industry’s problems for Repair Event Cycle Times (RECTs).
“As I survey our dealers, Repair Event Cycle Times were at 23 days a year ago. Now I’m hearing they are as high a 32 days,” Keller told Kindelspire. “COVID pushed lead time out long and that has definitely been a factor. The increase in volumes has put more pressure on the warranty systems.”
According to Keller, there are two components to the RECTs – Normal cycle repairs and warranty repairs. Warranty repairs get the most attention because the consumer just purchased the product and doesn’t expect it to be down.
He is noticing identification of parts is a huge problem for dealers.
“Most OEMs don’t have good systems to identify the parts and so there is a just so much misidentification of parts going on,” he says. “A dealer gets a part two and three times before they get it correct. The consumer doesn’t want to hear that, especially for a warranty.
“Even just on a regular repair cycle, the consumer gets the part two and three times and it makes the dealer look incompetent,” he continues. “The consumer is upset. The OEM is upset. Everyone is upset in the situation. If we could do a better job of identifying the parts it would help.”
Keller says materials consistency through the years is another problem with RECTs. COVID has impacted that consistency even more.
“You have to switch component suppliers when they don’t have the part,” Keller says. “If you’re an OEM and they don’t have it, you have to switch brands to finish the product.”
Another problem increasing lead time is commonality of parts. Keller says the industry needs to consistently use and stock the same parts.
“We don’t have to make everything the same, but use common parts. They automobile industry does a great job with this.”
He also noted that warranty authorization is taking too long at 7 to 10 days to get approval.
Hear more from Mike Keller, president of Keller Marine and RV, on how his company dealt with COVID-19 and his family’s dedication to providing quality service on the In Tow with RV Pro podcast.