RV PRO

August '20

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52 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com that by working with a two-step distri- bution system Carefree can have replace- ment parts easily and readily available. And, that leaves plenty of ability for Carefree to respond if the need for a custom product does arise. "One of our competitive advantages is how nimble we are in being able to take a serial number for any of the products we've manufactured and do a custom item," Wood says. "We can typically take a con- figuration and manufacture it and have it out the door in 24 hours. Of course, some of the more complex products – like our Paramount and Apex 2 configurations – may take a little longer." Even then, it's not unusual for most products to be on their way either directly to a dealer or through a distribution partner within 24 hours, he adds. The Road Ahead What keeps Carefree of Colorado at the top of its game? Wood attributes a lot of that to the more than 370 people who work for the com- pany, most of them at the company's facility in Colorado. "Engineering is really at the core of what we do," says Wood. "But Carefree is also comprised of campers, and you always get a better result when something is being designed by people who use it. A lot of our ideas come from our own brain trust, but we also did a fairly substantial nationwide research study a few years ago." And, he adds, that brain trust includes everyone from a service tech handling a complaint to someone working on the shop floor. Not only that, but the ideas keep on coming. Wood notes at least a couple new items will be added to the Carefree Con- nects line shortly. "We're now launching our Carefree Connects accessories – and the first to market is an outdoor-grade USB charger port," he says. "At the 'elbows' of our awnings there's a connector that will allow users to charge their smart devices." And, to make space under the awning even more attractive, Wood says this fall the company expects to launch another Care- free Connects accessory for insect control. Key Carefree team members (left to right) Tami Waddell, director of company sales; Traci DeYoung, customer sales and service manager; and Kevin Jastrem, aftermarket sales manager, are pictured on the production floor in Broomfield, Colo. Jim Defreese, Carefree's OEM sales manager, is pictured with a few OEM awnings. Defreese works out of Carefree's Elkhart, Ind., facility, along with the company's service teams, supporting the integration of its products and training installers for its OEM customers.

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