After having become interested in Oliver Travel Trailers, we decided to take a trip to Hohenwald, TN for a factory tour. Our purpose was to see firsthand if what we were reading from the Oliver’s Owners forum was accurate or if copious amounts of special Kool-Aid had been consumed.
While we could have made the trip in one long day, we turned it into a two-dayer and took our time by going up the Natchez Trace most of the way. It was a beautiful drive. We stopped along the Trace to see the Indian mounds and take in some of the history. It was very interesting.
We spent the night in Hohenwald before the tour to get a good night’s rest. Our plans were to bring a mess of doughnuts, but alas, we were running a little bit late and found no doughnut shops within 30 minutes of our location, except for the Walmarts. Then this plan went south as we got lost in Hohenwald! (One must work to do this!)
While at the factory, we had several objectives…
- See the actual color options. Computer displays are not always very accurate. They had a great set up in the new sales office/show room to mix and match all the color and fabric options.
- Spend a bit of time actually sitting in the trailer. I am not a small person, and just wanted to see how it felt after some time. It was very comfortable, even for me.
- Better understand some of the options and in talking with our salesperson, additional questions came to mind that are in the process of being researched.
I respected that our sales person would tell us when he wasn’t sure about something, but would look into it and let me know. I do not like sales folks who blow smoke. There was no smoke here!
- See the build quality that you can’t see on the outside…like how are wiring harnesses affixed to the inner hulls so they don’t come off and rattle, etc.
While I’ve watched just about every YouTube video out there, I was able to see lots of little details and was very impressed. (And no, I have not partaken of the Oliver Kool-Aid).
- See the actual production process. Being an industrial engineer, I took in a lot of observations on actual production workers work methods and their attention to detail. Out of everything I saw, I was most impressed with this aspect of Oliver. I watched a worker in the final area working on a small imperfection – he had not seen us, and the level of effort to address this little flaw was very impressive. There were multiple examples of this in addition to a really good “feel” on the floor. Can’t really describe this, but after dozens of years in manufacturing, you get a sense of the feel of a place. (While I was getting close to taking a sip of the Kool-Aid, I had not yet ingested any at this point).
- Taste the Kool-Aid – after the tour, I think I drank some of their Kool-Aid! It was yummy!
For us, it was much better to see it in person. It is a huge investment for us, and we wanted to see things up close and personal. I would suggest this to anyone if it is possible for them. I think it says something about a company when they are so open in sharing their build process.
We did not video the tour, as there are several great videos available.