Tag Archive | "technicians"

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ECP LAUNCHES ‘EURO ACADEMY’ FOR TECHNICIANS


A hybrid training vehicle

A hybrid training vehicle

Euro Car Parts has become the latest factor to introduce a training programme for independent workshops. Boasting IMI-certified training, the initiative also includes a technical helpline and an online diagnostics database that includes a library of previous faults.

The initiative is supported by training firm Grup Eina and covers all areas of vehicle maintenance. This includes electrical, electronic, mechanical and diagnostic fault-finding and offers assessment and training for every level of workshop employee. For the master technician, courses take place at one of the factor’s IMI-approved training centres, which have a number of vehicles with various simulated faults that replicate real-life vehicle issues.

The programme covers three levels of membership. Level one offers unlimited use of helpline time, as well as access to troubleshooting and online assessments for technicians. Level two adds to that with one, two-day training course, while level three offers three, two-day training courses every year.

ECP says that the first 200 garages to sign up will receive a weekend package to attend AutoInform Live, including hotel accommodation and dinner with the Euro Car Parts team. AutoInform Live takes place the weekend of 19 and 20 November and provides a great opportunity to gain aftermarket insight and training while mixing with like-minded businesses.

Martin Gray, CEO at ECP, noted: “We’re delighted to further build on our commitment to the independent garage by unveiling our new training initiative. Technology continues to evolve at pace, with vehicles that are now more fuel efficient, computationally complex and diverse than ever before. With alternatively-fuelled vehicles and connected technology all making their way into the garage, it is important that the industry is in a position to respond.”

Gray continued: “Euro Car Parts is passionate about the UK’s independent garage network and, by investing in programmes such as the Euro Academy, we want to make sure our trade customers are well- placed to further build on their far-reaching levels of quality and service. Working in partnership with our members, we will continue to invest in and develop the Euro Academy to ensure that the independent garage sector is robustly positioned for the transport infrastructure of the future.”

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THE BEST IN THE SOUTH WEST


Clare Butler shows us around an old-style factor open evening in Cornwall

Open evening enjoyed by all

Open evening enjoyed by all

There’s something in the air on this warm, late spring evening in St Austell. And that something is the unmistakeable smell of a barbeque, which is welcome indeed as Mike Best Auto Components is a long drive from anywhere and we are all very hungry.

We’re not the only ones. Dozens of local technicians have turned up with the promise of a free feed and a raffle at this traditional open evening. However, the point of an open evening is to introduce customers to its products and this factor (which is part of the six-branch Barum Autoparts chain) has recently signed several new suppliers.

Firstly and most significantly, the team from Motaquip have turned out in force to introduce the brand’s wares. Readers might be familiar with the name: Motaquip was formed in the early 1980’s when Chrysler sold Rootes Group to Peugeot, but retained the rights to the Mopar brand. Peugeot renamed the operation Motaquip and aimed it at independent motor factors. The brand was sold in 2014 and has enjoyed a period of investment since, which has seen it introduce new products and references. On our visit Chairman Peter Cox was busy explaining the benefit of coated discs versus the regular type to a group of technicians.

OPEN ACCESS

Grasstrack car brought along for the event

Grasstrack car brought along for the event

Barum Operations Manager (and Branch Manager of Mike Best) Clare Butler was also keen to introduce attendees to products from the A1 buying group, which the group recently joined. “It’s probably one of the best things we’ve done” she said, explaining that joining the buying group had already opened a lot of doors for Barum and had let the branches take control of the amount of stock that they order.

As it was an open day, we were free to wander around the stock room as we pleased along with most of the vehicle repairers from the south Cornish coast. “It’s lovely to hold something in the branch and there were no areas out of bounds to customers” Butler said. “Already, customers that have looked around have said things like: ‘I didn’t know you did O-clips or bearings and seals’. It was beneficial for them to find all of the things that they didn’t think people kept any more”.

Wandering around the 6,000 sq. ft. store, we noticed that the stock of batteries included many of unfamiliar shapes and sizes. This is because the stock, all from local distributor West Country Batteries, includes a lot of marine and leisure references. “We’ve got deals with various harbour commissioners around here” explained Butler, adding that leisure batteries had a better margin than automotive. “Not everyone will think about stocking these, but if I think I can sell it I’ll ask to have it on the shelf and then prove the point” she said. “I think we have the highest battery turnover in the company here”.

The event is now in full swing and invited guests are swarming around some of the other stands at the event: Kilen Springs, BRT Bearings and the Draper Tools van are all attracting plenty of interest. There’s a raffle going on too – which might be of more interest to us if we had remembered to buy a ticket.

USEFUL
“I think it is fantastically useful” said Butler. “There are customers of Mike Best who have been dealing with the branch for years who have never physically been to the depot – so it killed two birds with one stone. We had visitors ranging from ‘Fred in the Shed’ right through to some of our busiest garages. Virtually all of my staff turned up to help and support and all we’ve had is positive feedback”.

She added that the open evening was both cost-effective and helped with the style of community engagement that has been a trademark of Mike Best since the branch was founded. “It only cost the suppliers a small amount of money for the refreshments” she said. “It’s the first major event that we’ve held here at St Austell and as Operations Manager, I think we could roll it out to other depots”. We’ll be sure to attend – and not only for the free barbeque.

VITAL STATS

MIKE BEST AUTO COMPONENTS

Clare_Butler

Part of Barum Autoparts

Manager Clare Butler

Size 6,000 sq. ft.

Vans 5  Staff 12

 

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CLOCKING STORY GETS INDUSTRY REACTION

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CLOCKING STORY GETS INDUSTRY REACTION


Mileage correctionA newspaper has carried out an investigation into so-called ‘mileage correction’ companies. The Sun paid half a dozen companies around the country to reduce the mileage on vehicles. Each firm had a disclaimer that mileage correction could not be used for profit, but all agreed to change the odometer on an ‘ask no questions, tell no lies’ basis.

The investigation pleased Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association “We are encouraged to see that The Sun has carried out an investigation into companies offering odometer adjustment services” she said, adding that an EU proposal to outlaw such companies ‘does not do enough’ to combat the issue.

However, there is a fear that tight regulation will do noting to deter criminals and make work harder for technicians and could be used by VMs as a way for VMs to excuse ‘locking out’ the independent sector.

One commenter on the newspaper’s website observed: “A car’s dashboard reading should never be trusted. A buyer should always ask to see the service history, stamped service book, service, repairs and tyre invoices and all MOT certificates”.

Interestingly, it is franchised dealers that have the most to gain from a ban. It is believed that the fastest growing area for mileage fraud is nearly new vehicles on lease hire schemes, where the keeper can be fined up to 50p per mile over the agreed mileage.

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‘LEVEL PLAYING FIELD CLOSER THAN EVER’ SAY IGA


shutterimageA level playing field in the battle for access to information will leave franchised dealers vulnerable to losing more service business to the independent garages – which is no bad thing according to the RMI’s Independent Garage Association.

The IGA say that it has done surveys that shown independent garages taking an increasing market share of service work, despite the difficulty carrying out certain functions. This limitation will soon be removed, allowing independents to carry out every part of a service and repair for their customers.”

IGA Director Stuart James commented, “The IGA has worked tirelessly to see this legislation through, and RMISC is positioned to be the first certification body for this type of information in Europe.”

“This is the largest change to the current structure of the UK motor industry and professionally run, independent garages will flourish”

“It has been advantageous for independents that the franchised sector has not picked up the gauntlet of genuinely meeting consumer needs in terms of price and quality. This new change will allow independents to seize the opportunity, take the initiative and increase their share of service and repair work even further” he concluded.

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MORE TECHNICIANS ON IGA TRAINING COURSES

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MORE TECHNICIANS ON IGA TRAINING COURSES


The RMI’s Independent Garage Association (IGA) has announced a sharp increase in the number of technicians it has trained over the past year.

Year-to-date figures show that 3,500 technicians have participated in at least one of the Association’s various training programmes, which cover a number of aspects of motor vehicle maintenance, including how to safely work on modern hybrid systems.

Stuart James, IGA Director, explained: “Better informed and trained staff, as we know, helps ensure profitability and loyalty of our members’ customers. What’s more, with the continued growth in the level of technology found in modern motor vehicles, it’s imperative that technicians stay abreast of the changes, especially with a greater number of hybrid and electrical vehicles coming onto the market.

“From reviewing the statistics on numbers going through and completing our courses, we are encouraged that this is not the case, and we have the resources in place to deliver our training packages to many more.”

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