Most, if not the vast majority, of new technicians and even those that have been in the field for years, see little to no future opportunity for advancement beyond a service advisor or service manager position. Even the technicians who may be asked to progress to a workshop manager or even overall manager are rarely given the training, coaching and feedback to become effective at those roles. Approximately 80% of the service advisors and managers that we worked with over the years were completely unprepared for that position when they were promoted from being a technician.
The service department/workshop is a very complex business when you actually examine the financial aspect and the proper metrics that need to be examined, not to mention the day-to-day management of the operations. Most don’t have a grasp of the key performance indictors (KPIs) that are critical to measuring what state the business is in at any given time.
The uninitiated make decisions based on their own opinion rather than actionable and measurable data. Most have never been taught how to analyse the relationship between multiple data points beyond just efficiency and productivity. You would be surprised to see how many do not even monitor their effective labour rate or parts-to-labour ratios.
To take this one step further, how many employers that are proficient on the business acumen of service actually take the time to train your technicians on this subject? Do the technicians understand exactly how their role contributes to the profitability of the garage? This is a key thing to teach technicians, as it allows them to better understand decisions you make and how those decisions affect the business. This also allows staff to acquire the knowledge of how training, workflow, process improvement and such can ultimately make them more productive and earn more money. More importantly, the better informed and developed your technicians are, the better your garage will perform.
We may hurt some feelings with this one, but here we go anyway. How many of you owners/managers have taken technicians out to lunch, or invited them to go golfing, or given them tickets to a football match, or simply just said thank you and well done? For those of you that have and do this regularly, I applaud you.
What we see every day is that most technicians feel completely invisible to management and the front end of the business.
We have to work to change the perception of the technician career and we need to modernise the role. It is our own fault as an industry that we have not addressed these problems already. If we want to change this trajectory, we had better change our culture and we had better do it right now. The most important asset in your business is your employees. They all have a talent and all have potential, and it is our job as owners/managers to figure that out and then put together a plan to continually develop them.
To unlock the true potential of elite engineering professionals whilst providing an honest, reliable service to our clients in the Road Transport Industry.