Progressions Investor Profile
Gulf Stream Coach Finds Success in Innovative Thinking
The successful storyline at Gulf Stream Coach has a lot to do with lean manufacturing on its assembly line.
The Nappanee based RV manufacturer's embrace of innovation has proved good for business. Gulf Stream has tripled in size since it implemented the manufacturing method ten years ago and become a top ten RV company and the 14th largest business in Indiana.
Gulf Stream Coach was also honored for its stewardship of the environment when it earned the Governor's Award for environmental excellence in 2005. The accolades were due in part to its efforts to reduce waste after it recycled more than 14,500 tons of building materials in a company-wide program.
The company applies the same kind of thinking in its production design, development and manufacturing. The family-owned company makes and markets more than 100 models of RV's in 26 brands. This important economic partner in Elkhart County employs 2,000 workers.
It got its start in 1971 when James Shea Sr. started a company that built manufactured homes out of an old sauerkraut factory. Shea took a risk and in 1983, entered the RV despite a momentary downturn in the industry. The company infused its hallmark innovations into its first travel trailers and turned heads on roads all over the country.