What is “service-ready?” This phrase came from our friends at Toyota and, in a nutshell, it means you are equipped with the tools, knowledge and intellectual resources necessary to perform a repair prior to the vehicle arriving.
What you repair, how often you perform maintenance, typical component failures and the motivating reason for owning a vehicle have already changed.
The automotive industry has suffered with an identity crisis for a number of years. Some of it is self-inflicted and some of it is due to public stigma which comes from a lack of understanding about what it takes to successfully move along with a large dose of commoditization in a race to the bottom.
Vehicle technology is running away with capabilities that make a car into an enabler or a weapon. Companies are designing tech so fast to be FIRST that they don’t ask themselves real world questions.
The large majority of techs in service bays right now did not have a ground-up automotive education, and many of those who did certainly did not get a ground-up electrical education. This is no indictment of anyone, just cold, hard facts.
While most people are intuitively cautious about new technology, others ask it to do things it was never intended to do. For example, Tesla drivers using the poorly named autopilot have learned a few lessons in asking a system that’s designed to assist – to be the driver.
When you look at the staffing issues currently affecting repair shops in either the collision or service space, as if you were an emergency room physician dealing with a patient who is bleeding to death, it is apparent that two life-threatening hemorrhages exist right now that need our attention. Often, it is easy to look at a problem globally. So, we get overwhelmed by the big picture, rather than taking the triage approach of identifying the most pervasive issues. This is where ER doctors, nurses and great diagnostic technicians can be our models for fixing the ails of our industry.
Almost everywhere that you find a group of automotive service professionals, you will also find a discussion of how there are not enough new folks entering the industry. This is an area I have been interested in and involved with for decades. Rather than provide a list of reasons why this is happening, I want to focus on what you can do for your business to change your shop’s employment future. But, be forewarned that you may not like some of the answers, because they require work that is not traditionally in your job description.