Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016 - (Page 46)

FIXED OPS JOURNAL The exodus of techs SHOP TALK Who's your hiring rival? | PAGE 56 | ■ Dealership policies worsen - and can relieve - a shortage of mechanics TIM MORAN T here's a general consensus in the industry that there's a serious shortage of automotive technicians able to work on today's advanced cars and trucks. Now, some analysts and experts say that simply recruiting more technicians won't help. Dealerships today are losing technicians too fast for recruitment to make up the emerging gap, they argue. "The numbers are staggering," says Mark Davis, automotive programs manager at Seminole State College of Florida. The college's Associate in Applied Science degree program is a national curriculum leader that graduates about 100 technicians a year. There are Ford- and General Motors-certified tracks, as well as a generic import-brand track. Davis says Ford and GM estimate a need for a total of 15,000 new technicians for their U.S. dealerships over the next five years. Davis estimates the North American shortfall at more than 25,000 in that same time period. " Who are the techs? Military background .................5-6% Female .......................less than 1% Adviser turnover Service adviser turnover rates vary by segment. SEGMENT TURNOVER Luxury brands ..........................30% Volume brands ........................40% Source: Carlisle Technician/Service Advisor Survey, 2014 "I don't think there are enough training institutions in the U.S. to keep up with the shortage," says Davis. Industry analyst Harry Hollenberg concurs that the technician shortage is big and unlikely to change soon. Hollenberg is a founding partner at Carlisle & Co., a Concord, Mass., firm that collects and analyzes data for automakers. Carlisle's most recent report on service technicians and advisers, released in 2014, found that an ongoing industry churn sees 20 percent of luxury-brand mechanics and 25 percent of volume-brand mechanics leave their jobs each year. They may be leaving to go to another dealership, to an independent shop or even to a nonautomotive job. Every departure is an expensive disruption. "From a team perspective, it makes it very hard," says Hollenberg. What's causing this problem? Both Davis and Hollenberg point to a key part of the dealership service pipeline: the service adviser system. "We asked the technicians, 'What's the biggest issue you have?' The No. 1 issue was communication with the service adviser," says Hollenberg. Service advisers rarely come from the technical side of automotive maintenance. "A number of dealers hire their service advisers based on their selling ability - they were reSEE SHORTAGE, PAGE 48 "We asked the technicians, 'What's the biggest issue you have?' The No. 1 issue was communication with the service adviser." HARRY HOLLENBERG, CARLISLE & CO. PAGE 46 FEBRUARY 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016

Editor’s Letter: Welcome to Fixed Ops Journal
Service Counter: Tracking fixed-ops numbers
Legal Lane: Court cases that affect you
Mobile mechanics: Do shop-free technicians threaten your business?
Mark Smith: A fixed-ops-focused dealer aims to change the industry
Adding capacity: Sales spur FCA, Subaru dealerships’ fixed-ops growth
Richard Truett: Toolmaker targets new techs
Designed for service: A look at a Minnesota dealership’s makeover
Weekend work: Service extends to Saturday, even Sunday
Tech exodus: How outdated policies worsen the tech shortage
Before Xtime: The origins of widely used scheduling software
Older parts: Toyota, Ford respond to older cars on the road
5 minutes with: Ford’s Toney, Toyota’s Laukes
Shop Talk: One question, multiple service directors
Fixed in Time: A look at service of yesteryear

Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016