Monday September 26th 2016
Things got started early at the Tiffin Motorhome Service Center. Motorhomes scheduled for service today were getting underway before seven this morning. They were lined up at the bay doors when they opened.
The service representative showed up at my RV a little after eight to go over my list of warranty repairs. We decided my fixes can be done in an express bay. Express means 2 guys for 3 hours to work on all of the items on my list. If I needed a regular service bay, I’d have to wait close to a week. The express bay should be only be a two or three day wait. I’m guessing Wednesday, but will be ready tomorrow.
After getting the service planned, I went into town to take the Tiffin factory tour. The tour is held every weekday at 9:30am. This morning there were about 25 people so they had two groups. Each group had a man and women leading the narrative using radio headphones. The tour starts with the history of the company and a marketing video featuring the founder Bob Tiffin and his sons.
With safety gogles and radio headphones on, we were lead across an open area to one of the old cotton warehouses that has been converted into the cabinet shop. We were shown the raw lumber being milled to size, planned and assembled into cabinets for the motorhomes. We walked right by all of the crafts people doing their jobs, sorting, gluing, running computer controlled equipment and assembling cabinets. We stopped at many of the different workstations and the tour guides explained what was happening and what type of motorhome the product for.
Some chassis waiting for assembly
After the cabinet shop we went across the yard to the beginning of the main assembly line. We got an opportunity to see several chassis that had already completed being welded on the chassis line. All of the chassis were diesel Freightliner chassis waiting to start down one of the three lines. Inside the assembly building there were motorhomes in all different states of assembly. They are currently operating at a rate of twelve motorhomes a day. It takes five days for a motorhome to finish the line, then it is driven to the paint facility in Belmont Mississippi for another five days of painting.
Floor sub-assembly ready to be installed.
Workers on the roof of a gas motorhome
Gas motorhome before the front cap is installed.
Slide rooms with the cabinets pre-installed waiting to be inserted into motorhomes.
The tour ends after about an hour and a half at a final assembly and inspection area that receives the motorhomes when they return from the paint facility. We were allowed and encouraged to go into any of these motorhomes for as long as we wanted. Some people went in an out of each unit.
I enjoyed the tour, but it was not what I expected. The length of time spent in the cabinet shop was excessive. Seeing that they make their own cabinets out of real wood using quality wood working techniques is great. I didn’t need to see sub-assembly after sub-assembly being built. On the main assembly line they kept the tour moving so we weren’t in the way of workers or the heavy equipment moving large pieces around. This meant that you didn’t get to see as much actual work. By necessity the areas we slowed down in or stopped had less activity taking place. On the other hand, outside the scope of the tour, buyers are allowed to follow the progress of their future motorhome down the line.
The tour proved one thing that I already knew. Tiffin makes a high quality motorhome. They manufacture more of the components than many of their competitors to have better control on quality and cost. I continue to be happy that I bought a Tiffin product.