Recruitment can be difficult at the best of times, but Debbie Dunbar, Marketing Manager at Crypton and VDO, believes that having up-to-date technology within the workshop is a sensible first step to attracting the next generation of technicians.
With the industry facing a much-debated skills shortage, maximising staff retention and productivity must be a key consideration. Connected garages, and those kitted out with equipment that is efficient and easy to use, will be better placed to win the talent race. So, what kinds of products should garages be investing in and how can it help them to build a pipeline of skilled mechanics?
According to research carried out by Autotech Recruit, the demand for skilled technicians is higher than ever before. With AI and automation set to play an increasingly important role within the industry, investing in up-to-date equipment will not only help garages to future-proof their offering, but will also assist in attracting the next generation of technicians.
Guidance issued by the DVSA at the end of last year signalled the likelihood of further connectivity updates in 2020 (now likely to be towards the end of the year). With this in mind, it is advisable for garages to look for products that are not only on the DVSA’s approved equipment list, or easily upgradable, but are also easy to operate, making them suitable for apprentices and the next generation of talent to use.
Connected equipment could bring a number of benefits for garages and MOT centres, including improved data accuracy and ease of use, furthermore the automatic transfer of MOT results onto the system will also be far faster than the current manual input system. From a commercial perspective, this will not only help to improve customer service through faster MOT times but will also allow garages to invest more time in the up-skilling of employees.
While some operators may initially be put off by the upfront costs involved in purchasing new equipment, it is important to balance this against the long-term efficiency improvements and cost savings that it can provide over time. Purchasing reliable products from trusted brands will play a key role in helping garages to prepare for future technological changes and stand out to emerging industry talent. Opting for low-quality products also runs the risk of equipment failure, resulting in costly downtime, while higher-value alternatives often come with after-sales support, including upgrades and retrofitting options.
Where possible, garages should look for opportunities to invest in products that can perform multiple functions and provide dual revenue solutions. From MOT bays that can also offer wheel alignment, to TPMS tools that can copy the ID from a faulty sensor onto a new one, these products can help to boost a garage’s profitability – especially during quiet periods – by unlocking further business opportunities.
Investment in new equipment is likely to become a differentiator for garages. With a new wave of technology on the horizon, garages have an opportunity to embrace the change and use it to their advantage, with the added benefit of also attracting emerging industry talent.