By the time you see an RV parked on a dealer or RV show lot, it’s already traveled a long journey—and we don’t mean in terms of mileage. Whether it’s a brand-new model or the just the latest model year, that end product is, in the case of Jayco, the result of years of data and testing. The Jayco Journal sat down with the Jayco Motorhome Group’s Director of Product Development, Nic Martin, to learn more about the process.
In a sense, Jayco was built on the idea of product development and improvement. Nearly 50 years ago, our founder, Lloyd Bontrager devised and patented a revolutionary crank system for camping trailers that would help put the Jayco name on the map. While many things have changed since that very first breakthrough, from the way people camp to the technology we use to design and build RVs, Nic explained how the dedication to constant product improvement has never wavered.
Three key teams inform this process: our nationwide network of dealers in conjunction with our sales team; dozens of in-house engineers (62 at the moment); and our production line operators. Even if we’re looking at potentially adding just one small feature, there’s a true collaborative effort involved.
The sales team acts as our eyes and ears in the field, from attending RV shows to visiting dealerships. While we welcome direct input from shoppers and Jayco RV owners alike, our sales force has a finger on the pulse of RVers—how they are using their units and which features, design elements and floorplans they enjoy most. The industry’s largest team of engineers examines how those ideas—and new ones of their own—make things more functional for the customer and how they may integrate into current or future models. Last but not least, the production team must be confident they can execute the idea efficiently on the line, without sacrificing quality or function elsewhere on the unit.
Even relatively common changes go through rigorous testing. For example, when our designers select a new linoleum, samples are turned over to the production team where they run a multitude of tests. They will do temperature testing, to make certain there are no issues with cold-cracking or things of that nature. They will also test the adhesive application, to make sure the product adheres properly. Finally, they will test the durability and proper repair process for the linoleum. Then and only then, once production is confident in the reliability of the product, will a change be signed off on and put into production.
Our 2-year warranty supports owners for twice as long as most competitors, and it also gives us visibility to which units and features are working best and what needs improving. In addition to the key teams involved, this data is a crucial source of information for the development process.
What does this all mean for you, the RVer or RV shopper? You can rest assured that no single design, feature or floorplan is integrated into one of our RVs without serious examination by a variety of professionals with varying expertise.
Want to learn more about the next step in the RV development process. Take trip through one of our factories in this video as we track the production of a unit.