Josh Carnavas is the Managing Director of Brisbane Camperland, a successful family business. The fact that Josh’s surname is an anagram for Caravans should be enough to deem him king of all things caravan. Or perhaps the makeshift Jayco Journey mobile studio from where he participated in this week’s podcast recording paints a better picture of his dedication to the industry. I was fortunate enough to steer Josh away from his beloved vans for a chat, during which time he shared some valuable industry insights for our podcast listeners.
Operating a Successful Family Business
Josh’s family has been involved in the Caravan Industry since 1981. While Josh has fond memories of the earlier years, he explains that it was a tough industry. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that his family business really started making profit. Josh explains due to the nature of the business, spending time with his Dad as a child meant working on Saturdays. While he performed the jobs no one else wanted to, the experience gave Josh a good introduction into the business and a taste for the industry.
After a few aspiring career diversions, Josh realised his passion for design, architecture and planning demanded skills he could also use in the day to day running of his family’s business. Before long Josh had worked his way through the ranks to managing director, with lots of key lessons learnt along the way. Josh stresses that working with family may not always be easy but with a few ground rules it can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Josh shares advice with podcast listeners on how to operate a successful family business. Listen to this week’s episode for advice around work hours, effective communication and holding grudges.
Achieving Results by Taking Time Out
Our chat about measures to ensure a productive and cohesive working environment, led Josh and I to a conversation around holidays. I explain to Josh and listeners how early on in my career two prominent industry leaders stressed to me the importance of maintaining a healthy work life balance. If I didn’t take regular breaks to rest and recharge, ‘the industry will chew you up and spit you out,’ warned the key influencer.
Until recently Josh and his staff worked a six-day week. To counteract this heavy workload Josh took a three-week holiday with his family each year. This was instilled in Josh from a young age, when his father ran the family business and insisted the family take a similar length annual getaway.
Holidays are not the only style of break that is important for productivity. Soon after implementing a change from a six to a five-day working week, Josh noticed a positive transformation among his sales team. While staff were apprehensive about the financial impacts at first, it wasn’t long before the sales team embraced their newfound work-life balance. Team members realised that spending more time relaxing with family meant they were well rested and able to provide clients with an improved level of service. Josh shares his observations around these changes and offers advice to listeners about how to ensure staff move with the flow of major business changes instead of against them.
Industry Shaping Technology
During our chat, Josh provides listeners with trade related insights into technological advancements within the caravanning industry. A particularly exciting piece of news sits around Jayco’s launch of the first ever voice activated caravan. Using this new technology, owners will be able to walk into their caravan and ask to have the awning put out, activate the TV and the air-con, as well as turn lights on and off. Josh stresses that before long the whole set up process will be completely automated through voice activated commands. While Jayco may be the first manufacturer to introduce this ground-breaking technology, it won’t be long before others follow suit. This is predicted to spark a rapid growth in product advancements over the next few years.
Josh and I also chat about the resistance experienced from older generations when introducing new technology. People who grew up without technology struggle to understand why they need gadgets that often seem complicated and can sometime be expensive. We chat about how this resistance is slowly being overcome as technology becomes more trustworthy, cost effective and user friendly.
Also in this week’s podcast
In this episode of the ‘That Bad Review’ podcast Josh and I also discuss:
- The Whirlpool Analogy
- Methods to help staff embrace change
- The share economy from a trade perspective
- Being wary of trying to cater to all market segments
- The role augmented reality will play in caravan sales
- Important actions to take before joining the family business