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  #11  
Old 01-17-2022, 11:27 AM
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wcalvert wcalvert is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Anacortes Wa
Posts: 443
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About 3 years ago I had the opportunity to take a fantastic insider tour of the Vans operation, and talk to a lot of people there (including Dick himself, and Barb, remember her?). At that time the operation from top to bottom was (to an outsider) already running max'd out, with a significant number of choke points that were patently obvious. But this is how they did business, and it was working, so who am I to make comment.

We all know that it's been just months since the "hands on" face of Vans moved to Greg and Rian, and they have made great strides that moved that company into the 21st century, from what started as a "one" man show to what appears to be a flexible enterprise.

Looking back, if this 'demic had occurred five or ten years earlier, it seems to me that it would have been a whole different story for Vans. I dread the thought of how things would have gone without the leadership that is currently in place, and thankful for the hope that I might be able to build another of these machines in the future.

For all of you fearing all this new news, I hope you keep the faith that they're do the "right thing". Laser cutting technology sounds scary, and it (and other things) may change the way you build your plane, but it's been done elsewhere. Lots of changes coming for builders.

Thanks to Greg and Rian for their honest take on the challenges they're facing.

... there's my PollyAnna take on the day ...
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2022, 06:45 PM
dmattmul dmattmul is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Spring Hill, FL
Posts: 296
Default Ex-pats and QC oversight

I might have missed this so please redirect me. With off shore manufacturing companies must have someone there from the US to oversee operations. Maybe Vans has representatives in their overseas operations but I've seen more than one company try to reduce costs and rely on workers overseas who have great intentions but cut costs to please the motherland. I was an ex-pat in Asia for over 20 years and I've seen this occur over and over. Now with Covid travel restrictions it is more important than ever to have someone there and not the travel oversees for a month and come home for 2 months routine. (Now with Covid impossible) Been there done that. Hopefully with the new facilities in Brazil they have experienced Vans people from the US overseeing operations. My guess is the quality issues from corrosion problem has put a delicate supply chain issue to the brink of possible disaster. Did Vans have experienced people from the US in the Philippines overseeing operations? Hopefully they will have people in place in Brazil and yes this costs money and as a customer I am glad to pay for it and not wait now well over one year (Closer to 2) for my QB kits. When someone is over 65 time is a precious commodity.
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RV-14A QB building, Lycoming 390 Thunderbolt arrived July 2019, Garmin avionics, Vertical Power, EFII-32 Ignition and Fuel, Whirlwind 300-72, EarthX batteries, Parts became a real airplane 8/15/2020.
Started RV-10 Nov 2020. Empennage arrived (Built) Working on QB kits. Garmin avionics, Vertical Power, EFII-32 Ignition and Fuel, Whirlwind 3 blade, EarthX batteries, real airplane hopefully early 2024. Paid subscriber and more. (Worth every dollar contributed).
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2022, 07:04 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmattmul View Post
My guess is the quality issues from corrosion problem has put a delicate supply chain issue to the brink of possible disaster.
Lots of things have impacted the supply chain. One of the things not discussed (or that I haven't seen) is customer behavior. People are flooding businesses (including Vans) with orders because of the backlog. Here's how:

Customer: I was expecting a 4 month lead time for my empennage kit.

Vendor: Things are crazy, it is gonna be 8 months.

Customer: OK, put me down for the empennage. While you're at it, I'm gonna go ahead and order the wing kit, just to make sure I don't have to deal with another extended wait when I need the wings..

So now, the backlog for this customer has doubled.

Lather, rinse, repeat for multiple customers and it further clogs the supply chain.
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2022, 09:28 PM
Jslow2 Jslow2 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Cement City
Posts: 177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjmanton View Post
I agree. I also was thinking about the transition to final size holes. Will laser require us to drill again?
Lasers are extremely accurate, and don't wear out like a physical tool can.
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2022, 09:39 PM
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greghughespdx greghughespdx is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Aurora, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjmanton View Post
I do hope we get more info on laser cut parts. Iíve always heard that the heat makes it prone to cracking. Iím fully confident Vans has investigated and determined itís safe, but I would love for them to put my wandering mind at ease! Haha
We'll have a video dedicated to the materials and fatigue testing topic soon, and will discuss this in that context. The short version is, extensive testing was conducted and specific criteria and tolerances have to be met. We've invested in some new specialized machinery and made key hires in this area over the last couple of years.
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2022, 09:50 PM
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greghughespdx greghughespdx is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmattmul View Post
... Hopefully with the new facilities in Brazil they have experienced Vans people from the US overseeing operations. My guess is the quality issues from corrosion problem has put a delicate supply chain issue to the brink of possible disaster...
We have an employee whose primary role is oversight of QB products and facilities, whose duties includes regular trips to both locations. In addition, the people running these assembly facilities have decades of experience in this industry and we have established inter-company communication, review, and feedback processes in place. It's true that the corrosion issue last year was a serious one in that it has taken quite a lot of time (and money) to address. The impact to our business and timelines was quite real and the supply chain issues meant even more complexity in working through the resolution.

Oversight is important, as is the choice of partners. Flyer in Brazil has many years of experience building hundreds of RVs, and is a strong, well-managed partner for Van's and our customers.
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Van's web site | Instagram | Facebook
Opinions, information and comments are my own unless stated otherwise. They do not necessarily represent the direction/opinions of my employer.

Building RV-8A since Sept 2014
Dual AFS 5600, Avidyne IFD 440, Whirlwind 74RV, Superior XP IO-360
VAF build thread - Flickr photo album - Project Facebook page
Aurora, OR (EAA Chapter 105)

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  #17  
Old 01-18-2022, 06:15 AM
dmattmul dmattmul is offline
 
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Location: Spring Hill, FL
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Greg, thanks. Operating overseas with well intended economics sounds nice and it could be the preverbal win-win. Iíve seen it over and over someone comes up with an idea that seems to make since, even improve quality and turns into a disaster. All well intended. Glad you have boots on the ground. We have found that if we did not have permanent employees in Asia now with Covid restrictions almost impossible to have them travel back and forth. This is mostly an issue in our China operations.
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RV-14A QB building, Lycoming 390 Thunderbolt arrived July 2019, Garmin avionics, Vertical Power, EFII-32 Ignition and Fuel, Whirlwind 300-72, EarthX batteries, Parts became a real airplane 8/15/2020.
Started RV-10 Nov 2020. Empennage arrived (Built) Working on QB kits. Garmin avionics, Vertical Power, EFII-32 Ignition and Fuel, Whirlwind 3 blade, EarthX batteries, real airplane hopefully early 2024. Paid subscriber and more. (Worth every dollar contributed).
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2022, 06:51 AM
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AV8ER AV8ER is offline
 
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Location: Orlando, FL
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Greg,
Did I hear that the pre Dec 15 2021 ordered QB kits would have the freight surcharge rolled back? Or was the comment referencing that it had been rolled back to what was emailed ($375 surcharge I think?).
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  #19  
Old 01-19-2022, 10:19 AM
Indycanard Indycanard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Lake Stevens A
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From the update video, it sounded like the first priority was to fill the QB pipeline to Brazil. That was accomplished with the first 100 QB kits sent last year south to Flyr (per the video). Totally understand why it was imperative to not waste the QB building capability.

With that now accomplished, how long until the KitStatus page is updated for the rest of us (SB kits) with anticipated crating dates? My keyboard is wearing out checking that page daily hoping for dates to appear. All I have now is "Parts Being Produced".
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  #20  
Old 01-19-2022, 12:18 PM
Pdp7427 Pdp7427 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Georgia
Posts: 29
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Henry,

Hoping we see some updates soon. I can handle some waiting and understand that there are challenges and complexities in the current environment. What REALLY helps is having an estimate, even just a rough guess as to setting expectations on crating for our orders. That allows for planning, scheduling, and prep work. And if things change again, adapt and flex as needed. But being clueless as to lead times now being 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, or longer is really tough to try and set any plans.

Are any of you other pilot guys and gals here plannersÖ??? :-D

Patrick
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