Auto Service World
Feature   December 1, 2000   by CARS Magazine

Lesson #1 How To Succeed Without Training…

You can't.

Competition is tight. Vehicle technology is changing at the speed of light. The future success of any business is going to depend on how well trained its people are. Don’t think you need to invest in training? Think about this…

The 1999 Car Maintenance in Canada Report (AIA Canada) states that “In 1998, new car dealers emerged again as the dominant player in the mechanic installed market with a 32.3% market share”.

Another recent study, Motive Power Skills Gaps and Training Needs Assessment Survey Report (The KRH Group), surveyed independent employers across Canada and reported that “In the the small business operations of the Central provinces, a greater percentage of employers are not addressing the skills gaps through the use of external sources”.

However, the report also found that “…employers consider well-trained employees as critical to the success of their business.”

If an independent business is going to compete successfully for market share and wants to retain their existing customer base, on-going training is going to be a requirement. The important thing to remember is that although training can be costly, if you are committed, there are ways to make it easier!

Brad Brezden, co-owner of Advic Bearing & Auto (Auto Sense Member) in Dauphin, Manitoba, realizes the importance of training and the challenge to obtain training in a rural location. “Even though we are in a rural area, there is healthy competition. We realized that the best way to protect the success of our jobber store would be to offer training opportunities to the installers.”

When Brezden became aware of the CARS Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) program and saw the quality of training and the cost effectiveness of the investment, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Upon seeing the system and realizing the benefits of the training offered, he decided to invite other local technicians and shop owners to take advantage of the training.

He offered several local area shops a one-time training fee commitment, which would then permit them to send their employees to participate in the training programs on an on-going basis.

Those that are using the system have been very positive about the quality of the training offered. Brezden, who believes that the IDL system is “…an invaluable local training tool”, is amazed that more businesses haven’t followed through with their commitment to training. He continually mails out the training program schedules and has offered coupons and tool promotions to try to entice more shops to take advantage of this opportunity.

So, if employers acknowledge the importance of training, why aren’t more motivated to attend? “When I asked that question, the answer was ‘time'”, offered Brezden, “But I still don’t understand. I’m a busy owner myself but if you are truly committed to training, you have to find the time.”

“It tends to be the same people who are participating and they are proactive. They understand that to have a successful future, they will need to upgrade both technical and business skills.”

Dan Bell, President of CARS, agrees and added “Studies have shown that those employers across Canada who have invested in the IDL system have achieved cost and time savings, which can be directly related to an improved bottom-line.”

Sue Moore is the Office, Sales & Marketing Manager at Speedy Brake & Clutch (Uniselect Member) in Mississauga, Ontario, and has experienced the same usage trends. “When I saw a demonstration of the CARS IDL system, I knew that this was the way to go. In fact, we were one of the first jobber stores to begin using CARS IDL.

Everyone that has participated in the training has had positive comments.” However, she also finds not enough are taking advantage of any training opportunity, “People will ask ‘Why am I not making any money?’ and they will often be the same ones who have not participated in any training opportunities.

Competition is fierce and they just aren’t going to be able to keep ahead without upgrading their skills. IDL is cost-effective and the programs are broadcast at the most convenient times during the day. It’s hard to understand why more independents aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity.”

Through the efforts and commitment of jobbers who are investing in IDL technology, more training opportunities are becoming available to independents.

The good news is there are proactive employers out there who are taking steps to better train themselves and their employees. There are many employers who understand that training is a long-term investment that supports their business plan. These employers have found IDL to be an extremely effective training tool and a good long-term investment.

However, there are also many that are not investing in training and will get caught in the long run. Don’t let it be you!!

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