If you’ve been to the LaGrange/Elkhart County region in your lifetime, you can easily guess one of the largest industries, recreational vehicles. They’re everywhere; factories, driving down the road, dealerships, you can’t go a mile down the road without seeing an RV. It’s every day life for locals, but for those of us not involved in the RV industry, it’s fascinating to see how they’re made.
Jayco is one of the largest, well-know RV companies in the U.S., which peaked my interest into taking the complimentary tour. After you check in, typically you’re shown a short video about the history of Jayco and how they’ve grown to their size today. Since the video room was unavailable for the day I went, our tour guide John gave us the verbal version – just as informative.
We all hopped on the trolley like obedient school children to ride over to one of their many facilities. We passed by building after building, all being used with a purpose. For the day I was there, we were able to see how the big fifth wheel toy haulers are made, specifically the top-of-the-line Seismic model. For obvious reasons, photos and videos are not allowed in the facilities. That just leaves more for you to wonder about.
My first observation was the sheer number of employees, all moving at full speed. They start with the chassis and move the unit down the line until you have a completed toy hauler ready to be shipped to the dealership. If you have the chance to go upstairs, it’s easy to see the progression. It doesn’t necessarily happen in the order you would expect though. After they have the chassis and the floor in place, the workers start to assemble the interior before moving along to the walls. This makes it easier for larger items like cabinets, showers, etc. instead of trying to fit them through the doorway. Weird right? But it makes sense.
Once the shell has been created, the unit will move through roughly 20 stations, each with it’s own purpose and same employees performing the tasks their assigned to. It may seem tedious, but the workers become so proficient in that position they’re able to do some of their best work. Quickly too. The facility we were in pushes out anywhere from 10-20 toy haulers a day, while Jayco as a whole produces 200 RVs daily. That’s amazing when you consider how many are being shipped every day, and that’s just Jayco. Take into factor the other manufacturers in the area and it’s no doubt as to why you see RVs everywhere!
After a tour of the facilities, we jump back on the trolley to see the rest of the Jayco grounds before heading back to their Visitors Center to drool over some RV models. They have about 10 different units in all shapes and sizes set up and open for you to check out, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs!
If you are intrigued by the huge RV industry, or enjoy learning how things are made, then you should definitely take a tour. Jayco is a great facility with a tour definitely worth the money, oh wait, it’s free! In fact many of the RV manufacturers in the area offer complimentary tours, so who says you should only take one? I know Jayco is only the beginning of my RV knowledge.
For a complete list of RV Tours stop in the Visitor’s Center for a comprehensive guide.
350 S Van Buren St., Shipshewana, IN 46565 // 800.254.8090
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