Go Fast Campers Decreases Lead Time to 10 Weeks

While long lead times have become the norm across the overland, outdoor, and automotive industries, Go Fast Campers is pivoting in the opposite direction. Since 2017, the company has expanded production from 12 to 48 campers per week (comprising 40 campers and eight rooftop tents) and has decreased lead times from eight to 12 months to just 10 weeks.

According to GFC Storyteller Chris Brinlee, this decreased lead time is due to a combination of manufacturing innovation and relationship building. “GFC has created our shortest lead time in company history,” he explains. “All of this has been possible not because of luck or circumstance, but because of great perspective from our leadership and innovation of our in-house design and manufacturing process.”

The truck camper and rooftop tent manufacturer has introduced automated systems in the form of four CNC machines to increase efficiencies and replace menial tasks with higher-level ones. Operators program the robotics to handle a large mix of different parts, producing exactly what they need for each order. Rather than merely loading machines, employees are responsible for material preparation and CNC troubleshooting, which Brinlee says increases job satisfaction, productivity, and empowerment.

To keep low lead times, Brinlee notes that maintaining staff and ensuring employees’ means are met is key. “Go Fast Campers offers a very competitive base minimum wage at $52,500 plus health care and a benefits package. Machining and manufacturing salaries haven’t been super competitive in the past, so we’re trying to shift that.”

All parts and components are made at GFC’s production facility or by various vendor partners in Belgrade, Montana. This has contributed to decreased lead times, Brinlee explains, as it is in the interest of all parties to ensure production remains streamlined. If hiccups occur, solutions with vendors can be made quickly by face-to-face problem-solving.

From a consumer perspective, short lead times mean that customers ordering a Go Fast Camper product will be able to enjoy their camper or rooftop tent by early spring.

For more information, visit gofastcampers.com.

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Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or researching wild medicinal plants. Ashley is a co-founder of Women Overlanding the World and crew member of Expedition Overland. You’ll find this Canadian-born couple exploring a different continent in 2021, and sharing their trip every step of the way at Desk to Glory.