Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F16

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

RECRUITING TOOLS

Volvo provides free kits to relieve debt burden for new techs

V

foj@autonews.com

olvo hopes to recruit 225 new technicians by 2023, and the
need is urgent.
The automaker has 1,765 active techs, but " they're starting
to retire, putting extra pressure on us, " says Scott Doering, Volvo's vice president of customer service.
To help with recruiting, the automaker launched its Volvo Technician
Tool Program in August. New techs are given access to a 72-piece set of
tools used in 80 to 85 percent of tasks. Volvo and individual dealerships
split the $4,700 cost.
While tuition reimbursement and other incentives are more common, Doering says conversations with dealers and officials at Universal Technical Institute, the automaker's primary technician training
partner, convinced Volvo that tool debt was a significant issue for new
techs.
" When we discussed admissions challenges, they were very clear. The
cost of education is one thing, but then we ask students to take on this
tool burden, " Doering says. " It's a real barrier to entry. "
The set isn't owned by the technician, but access is free as long as they
work at their dealership, which is responsible for maintaining and replac-

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PAGE 16

Reimbursement for
tuition is a more
common incentive,
but Volvo found
tool debt was a
significant problem.
" It's a real barrier to
entry, " says Scott
Doering, Volvo's
vice president of
customer service.

ALEX KWANTEN

DECEMBER 2020

Tools of the trade

Volvo has 1,765 active techs and hopes to hire 225 new ones
by 2023. In August, the brand launched the Volvo Technician
Tool Program to help with recruiting. The program at a glance:
 Provides techs free access to a 72-piece set of tools
 $4,700 cost is split between Volvo and the dealership
 Potential cost savings to techs is about $20,000
 Techs get access to tools for as long as they work at
dealership
 Dealership maintains set and replaces worn-out pieces

ing worn-out pieces. Volvo estimates the set can save techs up to $20,000
over the course of their tenure with a single store. Volvo says its techs average 11 years at each dealership where they work and 24 years with the
company, five above the national average, according to Carlisle & Co.
Enterprising dealers have offered some tool cost assistance over the
years, but it's rare for automakers to help directly. Denver's Rickenbaugh Auto Group previously provided discounted tools but found Volvo's solution better for everyone.
Even though there's an evaluation period for techs, Rickenbaugh Vice
President Nick Pacifico says the dealership plans to let them keep the
tools. " We're making an investment in training that individual through
their career path so that they never have a reason to leave, " he says.
The tool program, Pacifico says, helps create loyalty. " It says that the
brand actually cares about the technician. "
This, Pacifico says, can make a difference in winning over a student
who may also be looking at programs from other manufacturers.
Only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles currently offers a similar " toolbox " as
part of its training programs, though Ford offered a similar program in
2019. A spokesperson told Fixed Ops Journal that Ford is looking into
reviving its tool kit program. Other manufacturers offer less structured
allowances, which may or may not be used for tools.
Bob Bauman, director of the automotive technology program at
Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Ga., says many dealership
partners provide some sort of tool assistance, and the school partners
with Snap-on for student discounts. Still, more direct manufacturer assistance would be welcome.
" When parents see the cost of tools, it's like throwing cold water on
things, " Bauman says. " If we can show them these incentives, it's going
to get students into our programs and keep them going. " 


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Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F9
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F12
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F14
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F22
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F24
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F28
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