Training anyone?Written By: Ron Slee
Article Date: 09-01-2005
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
It's very expensive to keep employees current and up to date.
I've been in this Industry since early 1969. It seems like a long, long time. I was hired on a contract to find and correct a computer software problem controlling the parts inventory. This job was to last for 12 months but the dealership hired me full time. Like many young people today, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. I'd taught for five years at night, worked as a social worker with delinquent boys, and done a host of other things from selling encyclopedias to running a country club. Nothing really grabbed me.
Then this opportunity came with the Caterpillar dealer in Quebec, Hewitt Equipment. It was a terrific opportunity. Like many of you, I was as an "enthusiastic beginner" and had to rely on my work, the environment, the bosses, and my coworkers to help me become a self-reliant achiever. That's what every company should want for every employee; that they become self-reliant achievers.
I was extremely lucky in that job because a senior partner in Urwick Cooper, one of the roots behind Coopers and Lybrand, spent one day a week with me and teaching me the ins and outs of inventory control. His name was David Steele, and I learned an incredible amount from him.
Later, I was sent to the factory for more training and Larry Noe, one of the early employees in CAT's Dealer Data Processing, and Bob Kirk, who was the sage at the factory on all things inventory, took me under their wings. I was very lucky to have a dealership that viewed training as an important part of each employee's job. I was further blessed that the dealership made investments in that training - not every dealer does that.
Not much has changed in the past 35 years. It's a constant battle to learn and keep up. It's far better and much less expensive to train and teach your employees than it is to keep employees who are not trained. And happily, the working group in parts and service are a very willing group. They want to learn, but in many cases the learning isn't
As you plan for 2006, make it a goal to provide each parts department employee and each service department employee, not just mechanics, with 40 hours of job-related training.
Take an inventory of the skills you have in the parts and service departments - Product Skills, Process Skills, People Skills, Selling Skills, and Technical Skills - and then design a program for each individual for 2006 and beyond.
If you start now, there will be plenty of time to put the money in the budget. Check with your employees; they'll love it and your results will show it.
Don't forget: It's much more expensive to have untrained employees stay with you than to spend the money to train them. The choice, of course, is yours, but your customers, suppliers and bankers will notice the difference if you make the right choice.
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