May '20

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38 • RV PRO • May 2020 rv-pro.com Lippert Components could well have the largest portion of the RV OEM supplier market thanks in large part to the variety of product lines it offers to manufacturers. According to the company's annual report, just a few of those products include awnings, axles, towable RV chassis, furniture, leveling systems, mattresses, slide-out mechanisms, steps, sus- pension enhancements, showers and sinks, towing products, and windows and windshields. And that's just the RV segment. LCI also supplies a plethora of other markets, including manufactured housing, marine, equestrian and cargo trailers, as well as heavy and light trucking. "OEMs have a choice where they buy products from," says LCI CEO Jason Lippert. "There are a lot of people who make products in our business. ... Having the high share that we do I think says a lot about our service and our quality and our people on the teams that are behind the products making all of these OEM components." In the most recent quarterly report, LCI reported $2.4 billion in net sales as a company. For the RV OEM segment, the com- pany reported $1.37 billion in sales, while in the RV aftermarket segment LCI reported $493 million in sales. LCI reports that about 61 percent of OEM segment net sales are for travel trailers and fifth wheels. In 2019, that translated to $3,618 of OEM content per vehicle. Jason Lippert says the company looks for the growth simply by meeting the needs of its customers and asking about their future needs. "We're always looking for opportunities," he says. "I think what we are looking for mostly these days is new share of new product lines. We are innovating and trying to bring new product lines to the market. We are listening to our customers and asking what products are we not making that they would like us to. It's not: How can we drive 70 percent of share where we have products that are pretty dialed in? It's: Where can we find new product lines?" Part of meeting those new needs comes from acquisitions, which have been frequent in recent years. Some of the most recent acquisitions include CURT Group, European window supplier Polyplastic and marine suppliers Schwintek and Taylor Made. To make the tough decisions, such as what acquisitions to pursue, LCI has 27 senior leaders with more than 350 years of aggregate experience, according to Jason Lippert. And he says there is quality reasoning behind which compa- nies LCI pursues. "We're not looking for acquisitions just to grow sales," he says. "We're looking for strategic fits in any of the several markets we do business in. A strategic fit is typically to find great products and great people. We want innovation potential. We want new product pipelines." The company's investment and commitment to innovation and product development are some of its defining characteristics, according to Jason Lippert. "We have over 100 people dedicated to product development and R&D and we have a process down where we've been inno- vating and developing new product lines annually for the past two decades," he says. "I don't know of any other companies on the supply side that are doing that on that regular basis. We also do more customer service all the way to the retail customer. Some (companies) just focus on the OEM customer. We are trying to focus on our customer's customer right down to the dealer and retail customer because they need to have a good experience." Innovation Drives Lippert Components' Growth Lippert Components has devoted significant resources to new product development, and to improving existing products with cutting- edge technologies.

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