The ASE Training Managers Council (ASTM) 2018 Benchmark Survey contains some interesting findings to be sure. Some of the results are of course, not so surprising.
For example, some 51.4% of the ‘training consumers” in the survey respondent pool were automotive technicians. An additional 12% were heavy-duty. Equally unsurprising was that 16.3% were shop owners. Perhaps surprising is that 11.7% of training consumers were actually instructors, i.e. trainers taking training.
If you’ve been at this business for a while, you’ll be aware of the seeming contradiction surrounding the training issue: shops complain that they can’t get training while jobbers argue that they can’t get shops to attend.
Certainly this is not always the case, but it persists enough to bear repeating here.
For jobbers the real meat in the ATMC Benchmark survey results is in the training that independent shops are looking for and why they don’t get that training.
Some 75% of technicians say they can’t get the right training, more than half say they can’t get quality training, and just under half say that it costs too much. This should provide some good guidance to jobbers and others looking to schedule training for their shop customers.
Even more important is what professionals at aftermarket shops say are the greatest training needs:
- Electrical/Electronics (53%)
- Hybrid/EV Systems (50%)
- Advanced Engine Performance (48%)
- Automatic Transmission (29%)
- Engine Performance (33%)
- Engine Repair (23%)
You may have noticed some themes here.
- Electrical and electronics systems are clearly a concern;
- Hybrid/EV training ranks as the second greatest training need despite the small percentage of the vehicles in operation that these vehicles make up, which is possibly why the comfort level is so low and the desire for training so high;
- Underhood systems training dominates the list.
It should be clear that what you should not be doing is deciding on training based solely on what your largest or most profitable categories are. As much as we do know that there are training gaps across many categories, only 11% of techs in the survey identified a need in brake training. Steering and suspension rang in at a lowly 14%. Perhaps they’re getting all the training they need on those; perhaps they feel they don’t need any.
Either way, if you’re looking to plan some training for your shop customers, and possibly set yourself apart from the crowd, make sure that the top categories of training wanted serve as the cornerstone of your programs, even if you need to a short segment on a specific brake system, chassis, ride control, or other topic area that you have noticed a training shortfall through higher warranty returns than average or other feedback.
If you have trouble getting customers to come to training, maybe its because you’re offering the training you think they need, instead of the training they want.—Andrew Ross, Publisher and Director of Content
Want to see the whole survey? Check it out at ATMC 2018 Benchmark Survey.