New Trends, New Rules
March 25, 2020—Change in the automotive service industry is undeniable. Cars are no longer what they were in the past, and neither is the training required to fix them. It is only reasonable that in the foreseeable future, training will grow ever more complex. Jack Rozint, the senior technology executive with Mitchell, weighs in with his thoughts on how the industry will continue to change in the near future.
A Changing Landscape
“Every year there’s new joining methods, new materials, very specific procedures about how to repair things,” Rozint says. “Training is no longer something you do once or as a refresher, it’s an ongoing need to keep up to date.”
Whereas technician training may once have consisted of learning the basics and going to work, technicians nowadays are required to consistently renew their knowledge of the systems they work with. But what trends are there that show change in the industry?
It can be difficult to predict exactly what changes will occur, but Rozint identifies some patterns that he has noticed recently.
“Over half the value of 2020 models is in software and computer systems as compared to sheet metal, bumpers, that sort of thing,” Rozint says. “Repairing them requires the skills of a computer network technician.”
The Shop of the Future
Simply preparing technicians isn’t the only aspect of what needs to be prepared for. How shops and their owners think and actually put those principles into practice will inevitably change as well.
“Like with all industry change, there’s going to be winners and losers,” Rozint notes.
One out of every seven vehicles that you’re repairing today may need calibration, Roznit says. But, in the future, that number will increase. Regardless of what repairs look like today, it’s the future that needs to be prepared for.
“There’s going to be a lot of change in other areas, as well— there’s probably going to be a lot of artificial intelligence used by insurance companies to help them process claims, and fewer human resources,” Rozint explains.
It isn’t just technicians that need to be prepared, it’s also the shop owners and how they’re going to be able to interact with other businesses.
“They’re gonna want to work with repair centers that are tech savvy, and can integrate with those systems. You need to be in constant learning mode, open to and embracing change.
A New Model
Outsourcing to other places with technicians that have the right knowledge and training is an option, Rozint continues. Rather than undertaking the nigh-impossible task of teaching technicians every possible skill or hiring those that have them, it may be necessary to reach out to those around you with alternative specializations.
“The way I’ve been talking about it lately is that in some cases it takes a village, meaning that as a repair operator today, I’m going to have to develop a village around me of service providers that can help me with all these specialized areas,” Rozint says.
“The simplest example of that is that I have a glass person who comes in, and does my glass for me, or the airbag specialist who comes in and does airbag work for me.” By creating a web of contacts around one’s individual shop, it becomes much easier to handle the variety of repair problems that might come through the door.
Call to Specialize
Rozint emphasizes that individual shops will likely have to take a different approach than they might see larger corporations taking.
“So let’s say you’re a ten-location, multisite operator. What you can do is look at having those skills spread out among your locations, and you can have vehicles moved to the necessary location at the end of the repair cycle," he says. "For example, you can have one location that targets the recalibration system, with a bay and technician that have those capabilities, and likewise for other locations.”
Single shop owners will need to take a different approach, because they won’t be able to pack everything that’s needed into one door.
Individual shops have a few options. One of them is to just focus on one area. That is, as Rozint puts it: “Specializing in some repairs and basically taking a pass on others.”