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Fleetwood workers rewarded for customer satisfaction

September 29, 1998

Fleetwood gets visit from JarretBy BRENDAN KIRBY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




HANCOCK - NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett was on hand Monday to help Fleetwood Travel Trailers of Maryland celebrate a customer satisfaction figure that was close to perfect.

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Fleetwood's Hancock and Williamsport plants together scored the highest customer satisfaction rating - 94.2 out of 100 - of any of Fleetwood Enterprises' 60 U.S. factories for the period from July 1997 to July 1998.

"That's about as close to perfect as you can get," said Maryland House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany.

Jarrett signed autographs during an afternoon of festivities at the Hancock plant. The Fleetwood plant in Williamsport, which shared in the honor, held a smaller celebration, company officials said.

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Workers at Fleetwood Travel Trailers are putting the finishing touches on the 88,905th travel trailer built at the Hancock plant since it opened in 1969.

About 650 employees and their families gathered under a large tent outside the South Street plant to eat and listen to company officials sing their praises.

Later in the afternoon, about 150 employees from the Williamsport plant joined their Hancock colleagues for a chance to rub elbows with Jarrett.

Jarrett, whose sponsors include Fleetwood, signed autographs for about two hours and appeared in a group photograph with employees.

In addition, Jarrett will sign a scale model race car for each employee, said Carolyn Hull, who coordinated the event for the company.

"If you were a Dale Jarrett fan, you'd probably be really happy. We have a lot of people who are still walking around on a high," Hull said.

Taylor said he remembers when the company opened its Hancock plant and has taken great joy in watching it grow.

"This is really your day," he told the employees. "To the eyes of the world, to the eyes of the customer, you are Fleetwood."

Frank J. Subasic, the company's regional general manager, accepted a plaque from corporate officials recognizing the achievement.

"The people who buy our products - our customers - say you guys get a thumbs up," he said.

Subasic said keeping customers happy is worth far more than the plaque or other symbols.

"We're celebrating something that's a lot more important than a number," he said. "We're celebrating our future security."

David Lee, director of quality at the company's Riverside, Calif., headquarters, said the 94.2 percent customer satisfaction rating determined by a survey leaves room for improvement. But for now, he said, workers should savor the accomplishment.

The entire division has improved, boosting customer satisfaction by about a percentage point, Lee said.

"We're doing a lot of things right," he said.

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