Training for the Inspection

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Devin Purcell is a Red Seal Automotive Technician with over 20 years of experience and a professor at Fanshawe College, London, Ont., in the School of Transportation Technology and Apprenticeship. You can reach him at [email protected] or find more of his opinions at autoknowit.com. Photo Devin Purcell

Ensuring new hires are fully involved makes a big difference to their success and yours.

Daily, we find ourselves taking our time trying to sell our customers on the benefits of preventative maintenance. Maybe it is about time we look inside and do a little bit of preventative maintenance with our own teams. 

Internal preventative maintenance looks a little bit different than your average brake service or oil change. It requires looking inside to identify what we need to improve and how we can get our team running at the peak of efficiency. 

With tire season approaching it’s important to ensure you’re ready to hit the ground running. With some shops seeing an increase in car counts of 200-300%, it is important that staff are trained to ensure all vehicles receive the same treatment. After all, helping our customers by getting their seasonal tires changed is a perfect time to fill our schedules with more profitable repair work. 

I think we could all agree that one of the things that’s often “forgotten” in the busy season isinspections. I understand, I was there once, not understanding the true point of this little piece of paper that takes so long to fill out and being tempted to just check all the boxes instead!

Years later, I understand why this was not only failing my shop owners but also my own pay cheque at the end of the week. Multipoint vehicle inspection, inspection, piece of mind inspection. Whatever your shop calls it, it is one of the most powerful tools that the shop has to increase productivity. 

Understand the “why”

This is one of the most forgotten aspects of training someone new in the shop. When training new employees, we tend to teach them the technical skills that are needed to complete the job we are training for but forget to answer the simple question: Why? 

This is one of the main reasons that a vehicle inspection will get ignored when times get busy. When you or someone in your shop is training a new technician, apprentice, or service advisor, take the time and explain to them the importance of a complimentary inspection.

Explain how the customer benefits from the inspection by understanding the repairs that their vehicle needs now and what the vehicle may need in the future. Also, take the time to explain how your shop re-targets the work that is not completed when the vehicle is in the shop. 

It is great for a technician to understand the work that the service counter is putting in behind the scenes to make sure their bays are filled with work each day. Once you explain that the work that comes into the shop in the slow winter months is from all of those inspections, they will start to better understand the purpose. 

Train together

Most workforces have a wide range of employee seniority, simply meaning their employees have started at various times. This brings a unique issue with training and consistency. 

Making sure training is consistent, while hard, pays off in the culture of your workplace. Taking the time during the slow season or possibly an evening after work over a box of pizza, is the best time to go through this process. 

Bring a customer’s vehicle on the hoist and go through the inspection together as a team. Make sure that you go through each individual checkpoint on the list and ask everyone what they think. If they say tires need to be replaced, ask them why. 

Not only does this training help to see the thought process of each person it is also great to see the discussion that it brings with the staff. Another benefit of this process is it gives the manager or owner the ability to see if the technicians are following your recommendations on maintenance. This is a great checkpoint for consistency to ensure that all customer cars going through your doors are getting the same great service. 

Follow up counts

Great training is only as effective as the follow-up. Once you have done that training you need to make sure that 100% of the inspections are completed and turned in to the service advisors. 

Also, if you have identified employee weaknesses it is important to make sure that you follow up with any training that may be required. This training may be in-house with a fellow teammate or, if required, a professional training session may be needed.

While training is never easy, especially at a busy time of year like this, it is important that it is not forgotten. I also recommend that you take every chance you get to train as a team, and not just one department. Make sure your advisors train with technicians, as by doing so, they will get a better grasp on the importance of each person’s role in the success of the company. If you train together as a team, not only will you create better teamwork, you’ll create a team that succeeds professionally and personally!



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