The future business model?
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!
"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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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
"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
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."
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
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!
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
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
"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
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?
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 :)
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
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.
Only the elite used to own TVs, VCRs, big screen TVs, convection ovens, cell phones, etc, etc.
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
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
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
…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
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