This is the seventh in a series of articles written by motorhome manufacturers that address the subject of quality control. Recently, FMCA commercial members involved in the production of type A, type B, and type C motorhomes were invited to describe the quality-control strategies they have in place at their manufacturing facilities. Their stories will appear monthly.
Most articles related to the subject of quality include a few paragraphs about how a company involves its employees in its quality process. Many times, the quality process includes a structured program with a catchy name. Or perhaps the company uses a homegrown program. But the one thing all quality programs have in common is the inclusion of employees in the equation. Quality cannot be dictated. It must be built in from the beginning.
The company culture of quality within Foretravel Inc. began in 1967, when C.M. Fore established the direction that Foretravel would follow into the 21st century. C.M.’s determination to build the very best motorhome available has resulted in a company that continues to be a recognized leader in quality and customer satisfaction today. C.M. has never waivered in his dedication to quality, and to this day he still attributes Foretravel’s success to “Faith in God, good planning, a firm commitment to quality, and a great-looking, highly visible image.”
Over the years, the Fore family has not only lived this commitment but has imparted it to Foretravel Inc.’s more than 450 employees. And this is where the true quality begins. At Foretravel, we have never subscribed to the theory that quality can be inspected in; rather, it must be built in. Of course, we have multiple quality and operational checks throughout the entire manufacturing process, but not necessarily to identify mistakes and problems. They’re there to ensure that the Foretravel motorhome, and all the components that go into it, perform as intended and operate in a manner that will not only meet but exceed customers’ expectations.
We consider training to be a very important part of quality. The better people are trained, the better they will perform their daily jobs. Two years ago Foretravel committed to building and staffing the Foretravel Training Center, located at our factory in Nacogdoches, Texas. This new facility provides the space for formal training in all areas and is staffed by a full-time training coordinator who keeps the facility running at optimum levels throughout the year. We benefit by having component suppliers come in to teach us about their particular product, and we teach them about how Foretravel does business. We consider our vendors to be a very important part of our quality process, and if we can help them gain a clear understanding of our expectations, they can provide us with a more dependable product.
We also use the training center on a regular basis to instruct the service technicians from our factory-owned network of dealers. This helps to keep them up-to-date on the very latest in technical and service issues, and helps them to better serve our customers with high-quality aftermarket support and service. Again, the better we train ourselves, the better we serve our customers.
As you may have surmised, Foretravel is a little different from most other motorhome manufacturers. As one of the smaller manufacturers of motorhomes, we believe that each of our employees plays a very important role. Each one recognizes the importance of quality and accepts the challenge of building it into every Foretravel motorhome.
Foretravel customers are a little different, too. When we sell a Foretravel motorhome, we enter into a relationship with that customer that we hope lasts a lifetime. We believe that if we do our job right and treat the customer right, we will benefit by keeping that customer for many years. In return, the Foretravel owner benefits, because that coach will provide him with everything he bought a coach for in the first place: dependability, security, enjoyment, and adventure.
Because the single most important ingredient in any good quality program is people, we decided that it would be appropriate to ask our employees to contribute to this article. Thus, here’s a little insight into the Foretravel quality philosophy, in the words of some of the people who actually make it happen on a daily basis.
“‘Is this the way I would want it if it belonged to me?’ That’s my first thought. We teach quality from the very beginning to the very end. Real quality is the people doing the job.” — Lynn Smith, quality control coordinator
“I’m very proud of the motorhomes we build and the part I play in it, but we realize there is always room for improvement. I make sure that everyone in my department knows what is expected of him, and then make sure we provide the training, tools, parts, information, and time to do a high-quality job.” — Thomas Christopher, lead man (production station 5/6)
“Real quality comes from people who know their job and want to do a good job. It has to be built in from the ground up. Quality is people having pride in their work. Our challenge is to get good people, keep them motivated and proud of their job.” — Jody White, manufacturing manager
“Quality to me is when a person sees no end to his work, and he feels good in his heart and soul about the job he has done that day. If we have quality within ourselves, the quality of our work will speak for itself.” — Michael “Rabbit” Jackson, lead man (sidewalls)
“Our quality program is built on individual self-pride and that everyone should consider themselves to be a quality inspector. The whole object is to have the entire company, from corporate office to manufacturing to service, work together as a team toward higher quality.” — Dewis Tillery, product engineer
“Do whatever it takes to get the job done right — that’s what quality is to me.” — Andy Bell, lead man (final checkout)
As we have for the past 35 years, all of us at Foretravel will continue to provide a better way of life for more people through our commitment to quality, customer service, integrity, and innovation.