CARS reached out to leaders in the automotive repair and service sector of the automotive aftermarket to ask them about their thoughts about the industry over the next 12 months: How will this year be different, what will drive change and what will be the biggest challenge. We will present their answers in alphabetical order over the coming weeks…
Trish Serratore, SVP of Communications, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
I believe shops will face the following challenges: Cost of parts and labour, technician recruitment, technician retention and managing consumer expectations. These aren’t necessarily different from prior years, but the time and energy needed to spend on them will increase.
Supply issues will continue to make parts expensive. Explaining why repair costs more will require shop owners to spend more time with customers explain the reasons. Involvement with high schools and colleges to begin the “grow your own” of the next generation of technicians will force shop owners out of their comfort zones, developing new ways to recruit and retain quality employees. Becoming better leaders will assist owners in building their businesses and understanding the market forces they’re facing. Taking time to understand their place in the market and focusing on their business practices should bear fruit.
The biggest driver of change will be forecasting employee needs for the next two to five years. It means understanding the new generation of workers, what they want, how they want to work and bringing the current workers to that mindset. Flexibility, pay plans, work hours and benefits all need to be reviewed, monitored and updated. Speaking to younger workers in many different fields might give a shop owner an idea of next steps.
The same goes for challenges. Tools include training, networking with other shops and businesses, involvement at the local educational institutions and increasing knowledge of where they want their business to be in 2023 and onward.