The future business model?

Tim Educator Québec, Quebec Posted   Latest  

As I tend to focus on advancing technology, I am really fascinated by where our industry is going! And in the education business, we have to be acutely aware of that direction as well. 

I have questions! Questions like: What will the shop of the near future (3-5 years!) look like and need from it's technicians? 

How will education need to change to keep relevant? 

Since the target seems to be moving quickly, how can we teach to this technology? or can we even teach it?

What skills will be in demand?

Will vehicles be capable of self-diagnosis? How could this affect the technician shortage? 

These are just some things that keep me awake at night, imagining how the business model is changing!

Thoughts?

tim 

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill
 

"What skills will be in demand?"

In my opinion... Efficient parts replacers and talented Computer/Diagnostic/Electronics guys. 2 seperate skill sets

"Will vehicles be capable of self-diagnosis?"

Yes

" How could this affect the technician shortage? "

There will be less need for techs all the time. There will be less maintenance and self diagnosis. As technology improves so will reliability at some point.

"These are just some things that keep me awake at night, imagining how the business model is changing!

Thoughts?"

I myself am diving into specialization of one model to try and stay efficient, competitive and competent. I am specializing in trucks that I believe will have staying power in my market for quite a while yet, and I believe will be hit by autonomous technology later than the rest of the market.

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Bill, 

thanks for your reply, mostly because we agree! :) 

When I had my shop, I specialized in just three makes of Japanese automobiles and it made a tough business a little easier. But it also created a sort of tunnel vision regarding the big picture, and I think now days we have to look forward at all things with a serious plan! You sound like you are aware of that! 

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Pat Technical Support Specialist
Westfield, Indiana
Pat
 

Our industry is in a weird stage. It seems very over whelming to want to become a technician at this time. A lot of schooling is more or a less a factory pushing kids in and out, so once you do get in the field expectations vs reality are far from each other. Not to mention our industry has a lot of negative stigmas. A lot of shops seem to be riddled with grumpy techs who end up getting pitted against each other in a flat rate dynamic. Inspections can be pencil whipped and then have every maintenance recommended. Its tough to move forward and not learn a bunch of negative habits in the process. Then there is the cost of tooling. If not careful excessive debt can be built up extremely quickly.

Despite all the negatives I love our industry and I think we are at a critical time to step and and use our gifts and talents to better it for the future. When we are looking for an new hire we look for someone young who is looking for a shot and then we invest in them non-stop. Being an apprentice in this day and age seems to be a great way to move forward. There is starting to be such great availability of training online that its very beneficial to have a job in a shop and then study at night. I believe its our duty to help teach the upcoming generation and speak into their lives.

I personally would love to see an industry that wasn't just about slamming parts on but being accurate and efficient in diagnosis. A lot of this has to do with how our customers are educated about what we do as well and for them to know that our "magic computer" doesn't just spit an answer out for us. It also boils down to compensation. It can be challenging in an after market environment to diagnose every make and model. It seems most would rather stick to the "gravy". This might be extreme to some but I would love to see technicians paid hourly and then have a bonus based off what the shop comes together and completes collectively. I am no business owner but I have seen in our own shop that when we pull together as a team we are more powerful than individuals.

This is a great subject and one I could talk about for a while, these are just some of my thoughts.

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Craig Service Advisor
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Craig
 

I've developed a sense that the single greatest ability we must acquire will involve how we manage fleet accounts. As some manufacturers move to a subscription based model, shops will have to attract key accounts and know through research how to be profitable maintaining a particular fleet. This will not happen easily in an "All makes and models" shop. We wont get contracts based on our subscriptions to silver bullet sites or JIT training. It will be based on an extremely high level of proficiency. Even 'self diagnosing' systems will fail and require professional diagnostic techs. (Might need to teach our techs good bed-side manner for malfunctioning AI? :p )

A few thigns will probably work in our favor: 1.) There will still be more cars on the road. 2.) Those cars (particularly once automated) will put on more miles per year than current stats. 3.) Dealers don't have the capacity to service all of them, even if they wanted to. 4.) Vehicles will still break down.

The way we do things will change. But we will still have plenty to do.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Craig, 

That is an interesting angle - fleet accounts. I have tried to envision the future business model of transportation and I also see autonomous fleets of "Uber" type usage running vehicles 24/7 with rotating out for service and maintenance. 

While there will certainly be a transition from where we are today to that, I'm not going to be surprised at all by how fast that happens! Our business model is already being disrupted and it will only continue. 

As always, manufacturers don't have the capacity to service them all, but will the aftermarket be poised to take advantage of that. I also agree that specialization will be a key strategy. 

It's a fun time to be a spectator :) 

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Pat, 

Your first paragraph is sadly very true. Much to overcome here! And I like that you didn't leave it there, but offered solutions! 

Your line "A lot of this has to do with how our customers are educated about what we do.." is the key here. I believe we have not done a good job educating the driving consumer regarding what they are driving, how much time dedicated people like those hanging out here on DN spend to make sure their vehicle gets them from point A - B, and why that is expensive. We have been too quiet about it being expensive! 

It's not like we are all making multiple boat payments! We just want to work in our craft and help people get around, all for a fair compensation. And like you said, when a young person stands at the high school door upon graduation and looks at all their choices, we are not prepared to receive them with a consistently solid career plan.

Why can't we make these changes? 

Thanks for your input!

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Chris Educator
Raleigh, North Carolina
Chris
 

Tim,

Count sheep...

I just finished my latest MotorAge article that is focused on moving from an outcome based education model to one based around mastering competencies. Koen Berends presentation at ATMC clarified where I was trying to go so I wrote a discussion around this transition. 

Aren't you glad you work on Datsuns?!

Chris

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Eric Mobile Technician
Peoria, IL, Illinois
Eric
 

Hi Chris,

I agree that the pace of technology is advancing faster than teaching it effectively to the masses.

Take trades schools and the ICE and the 4 stroke cycle; most spend a semester if not 2 cover parts, theory and building/rebuilding the ICE. Don't get me wrong, it important to know the fundamentals and the theory of its operation, but in reality how many engine do you rebuild nowadays.

My personal opinion, while not a trade school or college accredited instructor is that young potential technicians would be better served to teach a logical diagnostics or how to go about formulating a plan of attack when working on things they have little or no firsthand experience in working on. This is going to be their regular fare when they enter the field

As to the shop of the near future, I think a reckoning may be coming, perhaps not in 3-5 years but maybe in 10 years. The "we work on everything model" is going to be more and more increasingly difficult to sustain with the paradigm shift in technology, the lack of truly qualified techs, the attrition of baby boomer techs. Specialization and fleet service as the aforementioned Craig O'Neill stated seem to be one of the logical ways to combat this . 

Just a couple of thoughts...very interesting topic. Thanks for bringing it up Tim.

Hope to see some of you soon

Peace, E

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Eric, 

Thanks for your reply! 

So, this statement of yours - "My personal opinion, while not a trade school or college accredited instructor is that young potential technicians would be better served to teach a logical diagnostics or how to go about formulating a plan of attack when working on things they have little or no firsthand experience in working on. This is going to be their regular fare when they enter the field..." while accurate, could be completed by "...when they enter the field and are made to change oil and tires until they get bored and quit..." 

This is the part we are stuck in! They leave school on internship or graduation and (not even addressing their maturity level at that stage) are still made to "pay their dues" for low money because they "have little or no firsthand experience". There is much to learn and it can't be expected to happen quickly, regardless of the need for it quickly. 

I feel like we chase our own tail a lot! However, your opinion is what education needs to hear, as well as shop owners. I love automotive advisory committees for this reason! We used to call them "steering committees" and that should be a more accurate job description! 

I am still overwhelmed as to how to steer them in this rapidly changing industry! But we have to keep trying. 

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin
 

i[Take trades schools and the ICE and the 4 stroke cycle; most spend a semester if not 2 cover parts, theory and building/rebuilding the ICE. Don't get me wrong, it important to know the fundamentals and the theory of its operation, but in reality how many engine do you rebuild nowadays.]i

Not many. This a tough issue, though. There are many pieces and applications of extremely useful knowledge gained and/or reinforced during such hands-on procedures. At the same time, it supports the misleading concept that auto repair is about performing long series of prescribed steps to reverse the effect of aging, resulting in the satisfaction of completing a restoration project with tangible results. That only occurs occasionally today, in most shops. When I see those hot-rod-car and engine-in-pieces banners in schools, I want rip them off the walls and throw them away! The banners should show someone tediously counting electrons or analyzing a complex hydraulic diagram. ;)

i[My personal opinion, while not a trade school or college accredited instructor is that young potential technicians would be better served to teach a logical diagnostics or how to go about formulating a plan of attack when working on things they have little or no firsthand experience in working on. This is going to be their regular fare when they enter the field]i

But, they are going to be completely baffled about how the restricted electron flow is resulting in excessive oil consumption. To know how the pieces work together, and why, is critical to performing complex diagnostics efficiently (without disassembling the major unit). Much "diagnostic" work has traditionally been done by disassembling things, looking for the broken part. We cannot continue to support that.

Of course, learning all this takes too much time, based on what is generally available as compensation, and what is generally expected in "trades" career entry. That is, IMO, the problem.

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Chris, 

First - yes to Datsun work! I find it nostalgic to repair, not replace everything on my old 240Z as I "play" to bring it back to life. I remember this was why I like doing what I do! 

And Koen's presentation at ATMC was beautifully simple in it's message! I also have been keeping it in mind as I work on training presentations. I look forward to reading your MotorAge article! 

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin
 

Hi Tim. The stumbling block for educational change is standards, not the lack of standards, but standards developed for the Industrial Revolution in Europe. While some US states do have apprenticeship programs, those without anything but ASE testing have the greatest opportunities to make changes.

In Canada and other countries where apprenticeship has been in place for many years, unless the standards change, little if anything will change anytime soon because of the restrictions imposed by the current evaluation model, inhibit adopting alternate learning and evaluation models.

There are requirements that must be met using mostly conventional learning models and boundaries that while we have some freedom to explore, cannot be crossed within the current educational model.

Conventional theory testing methods are at best seriously flawed in that it is challenging to develop questions of high enough taxonomy to truly test the candidate's knowledge of a given system. All too often I read a question and the author is drawing from limited experience and exposure to a system with which they are familiar, while the reader may know that another manufacturer's system may function exactly the way that the incorrect response (plausible distractor) is described.

Adding to the dilemma of written evaluation, is that those with English as a Second Language (ESL), may be comfortable and proficient enough to follow service information procedures, but find written evaluation questions to be rather challenging. Even English speaking students experience reading and comprehension challenges and that is evident when reviewing questions that they consider poorly written, that are quite sound in construction and are technically accurate.

Generally, oral questioning while the candidate is working on the system in question, will provide an evaluator a better degree of understanding of the knowledge and skill level of the individual being assessed. We utilize both written and practical evaluations as a requirement for apprenticeship, but by far the best method is questioning while observing the candidate demonstrating tangible skills.

I don't know what direction education is going, but we need self-empowered learners with sufficient potential and aptitude to enter the trade and that in itself is a challenge in some regions.

Martin

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Martin, 

Good to hear from you and I hope all is well in your world! 

"Standards"....... I smile when I try to think of anything standard in our field - either as a technician or in education! Our standard is to keep doing what we have been doing. Why we do this is because it would take a lot of work to make effective change. 

As I try to provide material to help instructors with our trainers, I see the same thing you mention here - most manufacturers do the same job differently! No standard procedure to easily teach to. 

So, I'll say it again that our job is not to teach them everything, but to provide an environment for them to learn. They have to know how to learn to be able to adapt to all the technology that they will see in their lifetime! 

And as you know, the conventional education model can not always produce this learner. I'm just an old guy trying to make waves at this time in my life :) 

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Thomas Technician
Manassas Park, Virginia
Thomas
 

I can tell right now when i watch these BMW, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, and other make commercials the time for placing HEV or EV vehicles as mainstream across the board is now or very soon. When I went to the car convention in New york this year you can tell that every manufacturer is promoting and advertising HEV or EV very hard. I believe when they go from the few today to the now main propulsion type vehicles coming through the bay doors your going to see a lot of techs and shops fade out. I can know shops in my area that i can honestly say they are barely making it now with technology, imagine when everything is electric and they are even more complex. 

As far as my thoughts on self- diagnostics, yeah its most likely going to happen, but if what I' ve been taught is true in that computers are smart but are at the same time "dumb" because they will only do what they are programmed to do then i feel there will still be a need for technicians. Now the techs are going to have to be very skilled in advanced electronics, networking and lets not forget cyber security. Having specialized in BMW ive heard that the way you'll diagnosis a BMW at the dealer is plug in the scan tool and everything is sent to BMW AG, some dedicated guy diagnosis the car and then you the tech will receive a ticket that tells you what part to replace. 

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Thomas, 

I agree that the technician will never be out of the picture, but they will certainly look different! Like the BMW model of diagnosing you mentioned - a remote tech will guide us. 

I am afraid that those jobs are going to be taken by the IT techs since they know how to read that data better than us. 

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Maurice Business Development Manager
Geebung, Australia
Maurice
 

Hi Tim I am from Brisbane Australia, we are certainly in interesting times as our automotive horizon has changed.

What will the shop of the near future (3-5 years!) look like and need from it's technicians?

Our future depends on now, there will be no future if we do not act now. We have to all be proactive in seeing a culture change within our industry, otherwise we especially the aftermarket will not survive. Technology has and is advancing in such a rate that no one person can keep up. To survive we need to be united, we need new skill sets, and we need the best highly educated young people to join our industry. We need specialised education so our young ones can learn the skills we do not have.

How will education need to change to keep relevant?

Man education is the number one importance for our survival, without the proper education we will not survive, but it is more about changing the education culture that we currently use, it is clearly failing. (Sure I am influenced by my Australian culture, but I hear you have the same skill shortages in the US as we have here in Australia)

Since the target seems to be moving quickly, how can we teach to this technology? or can we even teach it? 

We must push for education change and include computer coding, electronics, Maths and science as a must for all our new apprentices, we need them to have at least 4 to 6 years of Tertiary schooling on top of mechanical schooling. We need to bread a new generation of highly skilled technicians and we have to pay them for what they are worth. 

What skills will be in demand? 

It will be a lot different in the future, but computer coding skills along with maths and a good analytical mind will be absolutely necessary. 

Will vehicles be capable of self-diagnosis? How could this affect the technician shortage?

This to a degree is very likely but the technology is only as good as the software engineer and you can expect there will always be need of some human intervention. There maybe less need but there will always be a need for a human being to be involved no matter how advanced or technical things get. Humans are not as smart as we thing we are. I find in every advancement made by humans new opportunities arise and we have to be always on the look out for these new opportunities.

These are just some things that keep me awake at night, imagining how the business model is changing! Business is always changing and to stay the same is not healthy. 

As a business owner I am always changing, trying to better myself, learn new things and watch and study the market and keep an eye on my competitors. My business this year grow 18% last year 10% and about the same the year before that. Some of my competitors are complaining that the dealerships are taking away business form them in way of offering cut fix price servicing, extended warranty and of cause technology. One can look at the problem and get swallowed up in fear, or one can take the bull by the horns and fit back by re-skilling ourselves and staff and changing the way we do business.

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Maurice, 

Thanks for the reply from down under! 

I have heard it said that for us to survive, we need to realize we are now in the IT business! And if we don't train accordingly, then IT people will get those jobs - all without having to touch an automobile. 

It's crazy to think that way, but also its kind of exciting! 

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Anthony Owner
Reno, Nevada
Anthony
 

What will the shop of the near future (3-5 years!) look like and need from it's technicians? 

The short term future for the aftermarket (3-5 years) will be a challenge for some yet exciting for others. The I.C.E. will still be the powertrain of choice in the bays of most independents yet we will start seeing more electrics entering our bays. By year 5, most independents will be looking at going out of business or tooling/educating up for the future. The technology we will be seeing in those 3-5 years will be eye opening as manufacturers strive to get every penny from a gallon of gasoline as they will be introducing technology never seen before. Our technicians will require consistent training to keep up with the demand of the consumer. 

How will education need to change to keep relevant? 

4 hours of class after work, Really? WTF, that needs to change. Paying a kid $10-12.50 an hour out of school, that needs to change! We need to start paying for training and lots of it. We as independents will drown if we do not catch up on training and start paying a good wage out of school. I see sending our staff out for training 4x a year at least for a 2-3 day period per event. One problem is the industry is not charging enough to plan for the future; we need to have young, driven kids in our bays who want to learn the "good" stuff yet we are paying those kids lousy and asking them to do all the dirty work. Lets pay them a living wage and teach them how to use a scope, program a car, diagnose a difficult problem etc. We as shop owners need to account for the loss of production as we train the young so we can pay them a good wage and attract quality individuals.

What skills will be in demand?

Attention to detail, reading skills, math skills, computer skills, we need the best our schools have to offer--What does the career success road look like? Chris Chesney says is well--Mastering Competencies

Will vehicles be capable of self-diagnosis?

Absolutely, but never leave the human out of the equation. Example, a Teslas is in my bay. 2014 with 45K miles, condenser fan is making noise--maybe a computer could monitor the amperage draw and suspect it could fail but the computer would not have noticed the strut mount nut missing. Yes, one nut was missing on left rear strut. The Right rear strut nut was loose. How is a computer going to find and repair that? Computers will be able to perform a lot of functions but never will they be able to replace the human--AND a human needs to program those computers they don't just reproduce or do they?

The future is exciting and i am looking forward to it. #1 Goal, find people who want to enter the industry and we will prosper

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Hey Anthony!

I think the key to change is your statement here: 

"One problem is the industry is not charging enough to plan for the future...."

I truly believe that we all know what needs to be done to remain profitable in the future, we are just not charging enough to get there. So, it won't be whether it will be expensive to get your vehicle serviced in the near future, it will be can you even get it serviced? Will there be anyone there to do it.... correctly? 

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Craig Service Advisor
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Craig
 

Anthony said: "Lets pay them a living wage and teach them how to use a scope, program a car, diagnose a difficult problem etc. We as shop owners need to account for the loss of production as we train the young so we can pay them a good wage and attract quality individuals."

YES! Great outlook.

My brother Shaun and I took this to heart. In our shop, we consistently created opportunities for OJT (On the Job Training). It could be a production and efficiency killer, and not always fun and easy. In the early days, we used to argue about the merit of getting 'known goods' on jobs that are coming up on a promised deadline ( I used to hate hooking up test leads after installing a transmission) it feels horribly inefficient to the "manager mind". The fact of the matter though... you pay for training one way or another... and holy cow do you get fast at hooking up test leads when it becomes routine!

If the schedule can be managed accordingly, and some thought goes into the process, building learning opportunities into the vehicles already in the bays can be the most hands-on and rewarding. Not a replacement for after hours training, but a means of providing context to the training and a place to put those lessons into practice.

By practice I don't mean repeated attempts... I mean PRACTICAL APPLICATION!! i.e. Law Practice, Medical Practice....Think of us as running an Automotive Practice!

We are talking about learning culture here.

I talk to a lot of shops, and I ask about the techs in each one. "How are they in scope proficiency?" This a frequent question (and not as unrelated to my daily tasks as you might think). Too many of the shops I talk to, reply something like this: "Well, I have a couple of guys interested in it, but we really don't get too many opportunities to do it. We almost never have to take the scope out." 

What they are really saying: "We are so busy banging out routine work, we don't create the means to evolve."

We must create the opportunities for practical application. To do this we have to charge accordingly.

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Pat Technical Support Specialist
Westfield, Indiana
Pat
 

This is so true. I used to hate hearing management shout "get busy and flat rate" when I am trying to look at known goods and understand a system better. For some reason we have created this culture where technicians need to be micro managed and constantly have a carrot dangled in front of their face. This then turns into burnout and resentment for what we do. Its tough to preach scope proficiency when not all shops value it. Then when its not valued its almost impossible to have the motivation to learn something new. Having these conversations are highly cool to me because I feel this is our chance to bring positive change to our industry.

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Matt Diagnostician
Red Wing, Minnesota
Matt
 

"Paying a kid $10-12.50 an hour out of school, that needs to change! "

I disagree.

Many professions have internships with little to no pay what-so-ever.

There would be nothing inherently wrong with that, if we didn't require they build a tool/equipment set to perform the tasks they've been hired to do AND we offered "light at the end of the tunnel" for our veterans. That way, if the apprentice/entry level tech is upset about his/her career choice you have built in advocates not only for the trade, but also your business.

Unfortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel we are offering when compared to trades and industries with similar, or even much less, demands for skill, passion and dedication is far too dim.

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Matt, 

Sorry, but I'm not clear what you mean here, can you explain to me? 

"That way, if the apprentice/entry level tech is upset about his/her career choice you have built in advocates not only for the trade, but also your business."

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Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

So, let's come up for air and review:

  • Vehicles will be able to self-diagnose better with time
    • Vehicles will also become more dependable
    • Remote diagnosis (OEM only?) will become more common
    • Auto Service will still need the presence of an actual human technician
  • Vehicle specialization will be a better business plan, due to diversity of system diagnostic approaches
    • Its tough to preach scope proficiency when not all shops value it
    • Fleet work looks to be an option to watch
  • Mentorship will be a key to helping newbies make it in this field
  • Technician compensation has to change
    • Industry is not charging enough to plan for the future 
  • Service / Repair costs have to increase to allow business models to afford the "new" way to grow employees
    • Aftermarket still commands a decent market share 
  • Technology is progressing faster than we can train for it 
    • We still don't agree on the time line here - 3/5 years, 10 years?
  • Outcome based education model has to step aside and make room for actually mastering competencies
    • Conventional learning models and boundaries have some freedom to explore, but should also step aside to the more student driven model that isn't consistently embraced within the current educational model.
    • Education is number one in importance for our survival 
    • We must push for education change and include computer coding, electronics 
    • Maths and science as a must for all our new apprentices 
    • We need them to have at least 4 to 6 years of Tertiary schooling on top of mechanical schooling 
  • We need to breed a new generation of highly skilled technicians and we have to pay them for what they are worth
  • Shop owners need to account for the loss of production as we train the young so we can pay them a good wage and attract quality individuals

I see some solutions in here, do you? 

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Pat Technical Support Specialist
Westfield, Indiana
Pat
 

Seems to be a pretty darn good start Tim. It's good to know we all have similar experiences and view points in these areas. Reassurance we're not crazy!

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Jeffry Educator
Québec, Quebec
Jeffry
 

Hi Tim,

"How will education need to change to keep relevant?"

Please watch the first five minutes of this first: ted​.​com/talks/ken_robi…

Education has often devolved, in my opinion, into a beancounters quest for accountability for return on investment. I get this; I too like accountability. But the path that has been taken to counteract what is perceived as a lack of accountability has turned into more of what I call "drill-and-kill" delivery methods. These are manifested by: 

1. Canned curriculums, where the class is "delivered" from a script and PowerPoint with no interaction with the learner

2. Outdated methods of establishing learning outcomes; coupled with burdensome reporting methods to administrations that are filed and never reviewed

3. Simple click-through, online, computer-based "training" that fails to engage (more of the same drill-and-kill) to facilitate learning by the student

4. The perception that teaching is easy. That the teacher simply has to stand and deliver for whatever the time length of the session is, while following the plan...and ignoring teachable moments that have arisen along the way. Allow the exploration down an occasional rabbit hole. This is especially true to promote the understanding of electrical and electronics. Just last week I cam across a class that had built a working ignition system on the floor...MAF sensor, ignition module, coil, spark plug, etc... The instructor was there to encourage and to stimulate thought; but not there to build it for them. They worked it out. Discovery is a powerful learning method...giving out correct answers? Not so much

Little support is provided for the seasoned technician to support their professional development regarding pedagogy (or adults: andragogy) and the ability to recognize the needs of the learners in the room (read the room). Are instructors sufficiently encouraged and compensated to continue to learn? How many have read things like this? a​.​co/33YDGPP

Advocates for professional technical education are needed at the PhD level that understand the trades and that can push instructor education. Industry credit for training, instead of just 20 hours for "Technical Training", needs to include training in pedagogy. On going training in pedagogy. They also need to beware of the workplace that values; "... reports (that) are more important than the reality they're supposed to describe. " (from Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the TIme)

These same administrators will also need to understand that not everyone who begins a program of study will be suited to complete that program. Not everyone will get the soccer trophy. Just like life...

"Since the target seems to be moving quickly, how can we teach to this technology? or can we even teach it?"

We can start by not giving the answers. Let the student discover the answers. This starts in Pre-K. But we tend to destroy the learning gift early. Look in the mirror...is this how you learn? (the collective "you" not you personally Tim)

"What skills will be in demand?"

Reading

Problem-solving

Writing

The ability to work in a team

These may be difficult to develop in a cohort of people that have had their creativity drummed out of them, eh?

I do not personally believe that there is a technician shortage. There is, however, a shortage of workplaces adequately managed to develop, and pay, quality technicians. Three years on the wash-rack and doing LOF's because, "those are the same dues I had to pay" do not equate to a successful business model.

Instead of asking, "What if we train them and they leave?" we should be asking, "What if we don't train them and they stay?"

Regards,

Jeff

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
Maurice Business Development Manager
Geebung, Australia
Maurice
 

Jeff it is complicated, in Australia most school drop outs look for a trade, we generally get those that find it hard to study, so every thing you have said is true but there are still many who throve on education and learning. It is these sort of people we need and we want. It is people like that that will run circles around us and will understand the new ways of diagnosing the modern cars of tomorrow.

We will never reskill the multitudes if we are lucky maybe 30% will stay and understand new technology, but for the multitude it is to late, many will retire or find new occupations. We could have saved more but we have left this go to long and what incentives have we give the multitudes to want to learn and be up skilled?

The answer is in our new generation to come in and to replace us who are aging and to bring with them a new mindset and understanding of or modern technology. And we need a new method to educate and train them so they are up for the job. I still think we need to teach them in a class room model, but there also needs to be a lot more hands on training as well.

We are currently entering into a time of enormous industry disruption as we all come to terms with our changing environment, a period I call Carmageddon a time of enormous changes and challenges. There is a saying in my country, business as usual, well technology advancements is causing and going to cause such industry disruptions that it will not be business as usual.

Now lets not leave you in the doom and gloom because it is not all about doom and gloom it is about how smart we are and how prepared we are. For those of us who can read the times and be prepared will not only survive but will make a lot of money in the future. It is about seizing new opportunities and there will be many new opportunities that this wave of technology will bring us. It is about adapting and changing and not being overwhelmed when changes happen. If you are passionate and you are up to date with technology and you are always soaking up new advanced technology and diagnostic techniques you are way ahead of the multitude and you will survive.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin
 

"What skills will be in demand?"

Reading

Absolutely! SI says all kinds of bizarre things when "read" by many people. It is hard enough to understand by someone who is very competent in English.

Problem-solving

I am afraid that is being un-taught. Or is it anti-taught. 

Writing

Texting will not do? The apathy toward reading and writing is going to cost this, and other, country tremendously.

The ability to work in a team

Primarily for the purpose of applying correction to ME! Not to get awards.

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Chuck Diagnostician
Sylvania, Georgia
Chuck
 

Henry Ford sold a lot of cars because people could afford them, will the average blue collar worker of the future be able to purchase and maintain these wondermobiles?

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Tim Educator
Québec, Quebec
Tim
 

Chuck, That is the big change coming - you won’t want to own a car anymore..... you will just pay for transportation of sorts!

Stay tuned :)

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Matt Diagnostician
Red Wing, Minnesota
Matt
 

My guess is that most people, when they aren't happy, display behavior that is observable by those they work with; or they flat out say something at break or over lunch to their co-workers.

If we take care of our veterans, those veterans become advocates for this trade as well as advocates for the business that employs them. They can turn to the individual, especially if they shop promise, and explain to them the stage they are at and where they can rise to. If the veteran is sitting there thinking, this place and trade has treated me well, then he/she will campaign to this disgruntled individual on why to stick it out, what to improve on, how to reach the place they (the veteran) is because it's a good place.

By not taking care of our veterans, we have created advocates to GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN (and that is by and large what we've created).

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Chuck Diagnostician
Sylvania, Georgia
Chuck
 

Sounds similar to a taxi service, we do not have a single taxi in our county. Time permitting I will elaborate after my half day of work, 4 more hours to go.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Matt Diagnostician
Red Wing, Minnesota
Matt
 

Only the elite used to own TVs, VCRs, big screen TVs, convection ovens, cell phones, etc, etc.

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Maurice Business Development Manager
Geebung, Australia
Maurice
 

Hi Chuck, my comments are based on what I see in Australia and what I am hearing from overseas, but I suspect there is a time coming were the next generation will never own a car (the majority anyhow) you will use your phone or what ever advanced technology device we have in the future and call up an autonomous vehicle that will come to you and take you to your destination and you will only pay for the trip you will not own the vehicle. There will still be the multitudes of mobility vehicles on the roads or maybe even hovering over the roads but they will mostly be shared vehicles and the majority will no own the vehicle as is the case today.

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin
 

Great questions, Tim. I will throw a few of my many thoughts.

The basic requirements of students, apprentices, and technicians need to change. The focus has long been on a "do this if that happens" model, so that production can occur as soon and fast as possible, by people with greatly varied levels of knowledge and aptitude. However, the potential list of "if that happens" is too long to be mastered by the publisher, teacher, student, or technician. What the vehicles need is technicians with critical thinking skills, then the knowledge (both stored in the mind and available in SI) to apply the skills. The latter supports the first, not the other way around, at the service level. 

We must accept and apply the reality that most people are not qualified for a career of automobile service, and that many who are, are not qualified to perform every type of service.

We need to realize that about everything is working against making the changes which need to be made. This includes the vast majority of people and systems in and supporting this business: vehicle owners, service center owners, technicians, schools, curriculum, automakers, part manufacturers, taxation policies, government agencies, and law makers. Many of these people speak and write to the contrary, but continue in practice. It is nigh impossible to strongly buck the status quo while obtaining financial success.

How can we change it? Build technicians with strong platforms of supporting knowledge and critical thinking skills, get the automakers to support them through information and compensation, get the parts supply chains to support efficiency, cut off "dead flesh" inside our businesses, and convince the public to pursue truly excellent service.

We will need to state it loudly, because warm sand deadens sound. We will need thick skin, because some people will be angry.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Maurice Business Development Manager
Geebung, Australia
Maurice
 

Marlin well said and I totally agree, our current training model is not effective into building strong platforms of supporting knowledge and critical thinking skills. It would be nice if the car manufactures would come on board and support change and offer our industry the support and training that our Apprentices need and for that mater our already trained mechanics / technicians all need. But some how I do not think the car makers would be so obliging in wanting to help the Aftermarket (at least in my country this is the case)

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William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia
William
 

#1: Until students have an EXCELLENT understanding of basics (electrical, fluid, problem solving skills, etc.) all the job specific training is useless. Get them trained first in all the basics, and if they can't problem solve and think things out to a logical conclusion, they need to move on to parts replacer.

#2: More pay & benefits. Without these, nothing will ever fix the problem. The good techs will leave, and we will be left with those who can't think and only follow silver bullets and bulletins. NO MORE FLAT RATE!!

#3: Self-diagnosis will get better..... and worse at the same time. The problems change, and the diagnosis system is always 2 steps behind the real world product. (Current self-driving cars are a good example). Still waiting for that "magic box" that tells us what's wrong!

#4: Shop owners/managers will need to change how they sell repairs. This means getting educated themselves. Prices will have to increase, and diagnostic time will HAVE to be charged for, not eaten by the shop or the techs.

#5: No more nighttime training!! Most of it is a waste of time, as techs are good for about 2 hours after work. Daytime training will have to be budgeted for, and factored into the labor rates charged.

#6: Information & equipment. Most shops don't spend enough on either, so everything suffers. Lack of these and training is the cause of most of the botched repairs and so-called rip-offs we hear so much about. You can't fix it without information. equipment and training!!

Unfortunately, these issues have been the same since the early '70s. The hope is growing dim....... Willie

+5 Ð Bounty Awarded
Adrean Diagnostician
Bakersfield, California
Adrean
 

I like this 

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans
 

I don't know if too much is going to change in the next 3-5 years, but we should start to see the tip of the change coming by then. Techs are going to have to be more savvy with electronics for sure. Now modules are telling which lights to turn on and at at specific percentage. Some brake lights I deal with are LED and aren't testable with old methods.

As far as education, I know my local community college is still teaching mostly the same stuff as when I went through 17 years ago. Still using the James Halderman NATEF worksheets that seem like mostly busy work now that I've been in the industry so long. Class is still taught with a lecture/power point and then lab work using "live" cars that may or more likely may not be relevant to the current chapter in the book. I feel more computer classes should be part of the automotive curriculum, and I wonder when the automotive world will start stealing IT guys, instead of IT stealing auto techs.

On going training will be the only way to keep up with the technology. Personally I'll take anything, even night classes if they are held close. I do have CTI classes about 40 miles away from me, but the time they are at night would make the commute about 3 hours round trip, added to a 4 hour class. I just can't do that with a young family. I asked my dentist about their on going training and the governing board requires 20 hours a year to keep up. That's not much when I hear the target number good shops want to achieve is 40 hours or more.

I'm not so sure of the self diagnosis of vehicles, but it could be possible. They will however probably adhere to a much more strict maintenance schedule, and drive themselves to get serviced when specified. It's very possible that the manufactures would have access to all OBD info remotely, and dispatch the car to get work done if needed. Taking some of the human element out of the vehicle might actually simplify diagnostics and repairs.

There are so many things that "could" happen in the next few years, and I fear for the kids just getting into it. I don't want to dissuade anyone from the industry, but there are definitely things that will need to change if we are to move into the next stage of the automobile. 

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Craig Service Advisor
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Craig
 

I've heard assessments that suggest it takes 100 hours of training a year just to keep up. In an all makes shop... that wouldn't surprise me.

0 Ð Bounty Awarded