Always Innovating

1903 was a historic year in the transportation industry. The Ford Model A was first produced in 1903 and Star Tank Company of Goshen, IN, a manufacturer of metal farm equipment, was founded. Star Tank would undergo a series of name changes over the next 60 years, finally in 1966 becoming Starcraft Corp. From making the first aluminum boat to becoming the first company to manufacture luxury van conversion, Starcraft has been at the forefront of innovation for over 100 years. In 1998, Starcraft entered the shuttle bus industry with the Allstar. While the Allstar exhibited some initial success, it was the acquisition of Starcraft’s Bus division by Forest River, Inc. in 2001 that elevated the Allstar to its current position as the “Best Selling Bus in America” with over 50,000 units sold.

Since being acquired by Forest River, Starcraft has expanded its product offering. With the introduction of each new model, Starcraft continues to innovate and elevate what customers expect from a shuttle bus. In 2005, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased Forest River and Starcraft became part of one of the most financially respected companies in the world. Being part of Berkshire Hathaway has allowed Starcraft to continue to innovate. In 2006, the Allstar became the only bus to go through Altoona Testing’s 7 year/200K mile test with zero failures. In addition, Starcraft’s safety focus and obsession with innovation led it to become the first bus manufacturer to make backup cameras and seatbelts standard on all of their buses. In another industry first, in 2018 Starcraft introduced an industry leading 5 year/100K mile warranty. These innovations have led to Starcraft becoming North America’s Largest Selling Shuttle Bus Manufacturer.

As we move into the future, Starcraft will continue to innovate to ensure our dealers and customers’ success.

Forest River Bus’s dedication to ensuring our Dealers success by delivering superior products and extraordinary customer service has led to the launch of a first in the shuttle bus industry: Forest River Bus’s 25,000 square foot, state of the art, Pre-Delivery Inspection and Customer Service Center.

The new facility houses the Pre-Delivery Inspection area, the Forest River Bus Customer Service and Warranty Departments and the Forest River Bus Parts department.

The idea for the PDI Center grew out of Forest River Bus’s commitment to increase customer and dealer responsiveness and expedite vehicle shipments. Currently, 50% of the shuttle buses produced by Starcraft, StarTrans and Glaval Bus are subject to an additional post-production inspection. These inspections are in addition to the numerous inspections that are completed by over 20 well trained inspectors throughout the production process.

Many of the Pre-Delivery Inspections are FTA funded transit contracts which require third party independent inspections. These inspectors not only need a clean, well-lit area to conduct the inspection of the bus, but they also need a comfortable work space to complete the paperwork required for the inspection. The new center provides desk space, internet access, phones, printers, copiers and the Pre-Delivery Inspection crew to work directly with the independent inspectors to correct any outstanding issues. The result has been not only a better, more comfortable experience for the inspectors, but also a bus that gets delivered in a timelier fashion.

The remaining inspections consist of requests by dealers who would like to reduce bottle necks in their own service departments and improve throughput or by dealers who would like the bus shipped directly to their end customer and therefore cannot perform their own PDI. In the past, dealers would have to work out the necessary logistics, which consisted of contacting independent contractors, negotiating pricing, scheduling the appointment and determining a location where the inspection could take place.

Now, at the time of the order, Dealers select the PDI service option, provide Forest River Bus with their checklist and Forest River does the rest. The Pre-Delivery Inspection Center employs a crew of specialized personnel, independent of any of the production lines. The team utilizes the dealer supplied checklist to perform the PDI. That same team is trained to resolve any problems found quickly. The Center has the capacity to perform a PDI on every unit currently being produced at the Forest River Bus Goshen campus.

As David Wright, President of Forest River Bus stated, “Time is of the essence with any shuttle delivery for multiple reasons; the end customer is replacing a vehicle that is out of service, their facility has a grand opening scheduled, a university is adding a new route to their campus, the reasons are endless! Forest River Bus understands this, and has made it a goal to provide resources for expedited delivery while providing financial savings to our dealer partners.”

The new facility also houses the Forest River Bus Customer Service and Warranty Departments. Having all of the personnel in one location allows for quicker communication to customers, and the ability to collaborate internally with the troubleshooting technicians. This consolidation has resulted in the majority of calls and claims to be resolved within 24 hours. The Customer Service and Warranty team ensures all situations are handled in a timely manner.

The Forest River Bus Parts team has also relocated within the new complex. A bus that cannot be used because it needs a part costs the customer and dealer money and time. To provide dealers with quicker response times and increased turnaround in shipping, all parts inventory for Starcraft Bus, StarTrans Bus and Glaval Bus are now in one location. In addition, Forest River Bus keeps fast moving parts in stock to improve the turnaround time of part shipments. Multiple freight lines deliver and pickup daily to ensure expedited service to dealers.

Forest River Bus’s goal is to better serve the dealer and end user, and always looks for ways to improve. The addition of the PDI and Customer Service center illustrates the drive to expand services and give the dealer network an advantage over the competition.

“Best Bus Sales has been a Glaval Dealer since inception. The quality, fit and finish is second to none, and now with the industry leading warranty our clients cannot be more pleased.” – Patrick Swaggerty, Best Bus Sales Vice-President
“It’s important to have great vehicles that can help us deliver the ADA services to our community. We love the fact that we can purchase something of this quality from our region.” – Amy Hill, South Bend Transpo General Manager & CEO
“Forest River Bus is a great asset to our company. Great attitudes, timely answers and responses!” – Rob Zimmerman, Best Bus Sales President/Owner
"Forest River Bus is excellent in their response time.” – Henry Headden, Carpenter Bus President
“The hard work, professionalism and expertise exemplifies exactly what you need in a manufacturer.” – Matt Mashuda, Creative Bus Sales Regional Sales
“I’ve dealt with other bus companies, but this was the most professional and best experience of them all. No exaggerating. Not easy to do with the scale of your production…impressive.” - Rich Solano Jr, Matthews Bus Alliance Regional Sales
“My employees went on and on about how much they learned, and how well the classes were planned out. The Matterport 360 view app is a great way to show a bus to our customers. Thanks for providing this much needed training!” - Barnie K. Smith, Palmetto Bus Sales President
“I can’t thank you enough for the partnership we have. Quick response and production turnaround time helped gain Forest River Bus and Trans South another customer for life.” - Chris Clark, Transportation South Regional Sales Manager

© 2020 Starcraft Bus, a Division of Forest River, Inc. | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use