Service Ready: What Do OEMs Expect of Their Franchise Dealers
During a panel presentation, March 8, at the NASTF Spring General Meeting in Kansas Kelly Geist, Service Engineering Manager for Subaru; Mark Saxonberg, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Environment & Industry Relations Manager for Toyota; Bob Stewart, Aftermarket Service Support for GM and Jim Von Ehr, Manager, Technical Information and Serviceability of Nissan each gave valuable insights into their service department business models.
Saxonberg explained “the availability of service information doesn’t, itself, make a tech service-ready.” He listed five additional resources as necessary: factory diagnostic functions, product knowledge, tech assistance support, factory parts options and a commitment to learning. Stewart extolled the benefits of GM’s long-term strategy in technician development, demonstrated in GM’s ASEP (Automotive Service Education Program), which is a partnership with their franchise dealer, spanning from high school through a tech’s working career. Geist described Subaru’s requirement of minimum tool investments from Toughbook laptops to some 400 special tools costing about $50,000. “We roll out about 20 new special tools a year, and they are shipped automatically to our franchise dealers,” revealed Geist. Von Ehr described the Nissan MSTR (Minimum Service Training Requirements) and showed their positive correlation to the F-1 scores (Fixed Right the First Time Score) for Nissan dealers. In closing, Von Ehr argued our industry needs more than just highly-qualified techs. “We need more techs at all levels,” he said. “With the right training requirements in place, we’ll get more highly-qualified techs from that larger pool of techs.”
Video recordings of the presentations are available on the NASTF YouTube Channel. Visit www.youtube.com/NASTFdotOrg.
LEONARD WOOD GLOVES WON BY DIANE LARSON
Shop owner, Diane Larson (Larson's Automotive, Peabody, Mass.) won the drawing for the commemorative MechanixWear gloves signed for NASTF by the legendary NASCAR mechanic, Leonard Wood. This special prize was a reward in the NASTF marketing campaign, Technician Outreach, launched in October 2012.
Larson, who has been a registered supporter of NASTF since February 2010, deposited her entry into the contest jar at the NASTF exhibit on the VISION2013 trade show floor. Her entry was mixed with all the entries submitted at www.nastf.org by techs and shop owners from around the USA since October 2012.
NASTF SPRING 2013 GENERAL MEETING
Telematics - The opening presentation, Why Automakers Should Support Aftermarket Telematics, by Charlie Gorman, Chairman of NASTF and President of the Equipment and Tool Institute, points out that quality new cars sold by OEMs today are becoming quality used cars serviced in the aftermarket tomorrow. “Embracing aftermarket diagnostic solutions,” says Gorman, “pays dividends because it makes for happy owners; and happy owners have a tendency to become loyal to the brand”. Gorman described, in detail, a technical strategy that would consolidate competing telematics technologies into an efficient network, taking advantage of the creative free marketplace in developing multiple solutions to benefit the consumer. A video recording of the presentation is available on the NASTF YouTube site. Visit http://youtu.be/zJ66ezJtDKM.
Service Ready: Aftermarket Reality - Bob Augustine of Christian Brothers Automotive, Bob Beckmann of Beckmann Technologies, Aaron Cherrington of Identifix, Jeff Minter of Madison Technical College and Rusty Savignac of Paxton Garage followed the OEM Roundtable and dug deeper into solutions for closing the service-readiness gap among independent shops. “It’s harder today to fit all the necessary training into just a two-year college program,” says Minter. He’s concerned that education is too focused on pattern-failures and not enough depth in system understanding that would be useful in developing diagnostic skills. Cherrington points out that today’s techs must be resourceful. “A 2010 Ford has about 11 million lines of software code,” he says. “A tech today must have information partners.” Augustine encourages shops to develop a “training roadmap” with compensation incentives for higher skill levels. Savignac, who owns and operates Paxton Garage in Massachusetts, contends that independent shops must accept responsibility for turning tech school grads into qualified techs. “My two best techs came from post-secondary schools and got OJT refined,” he explained. Beckmann is a Euro-specialist and contracts to assist shops with service in advanced systems not yet mastered in their shop. “One difference that separates troubled [shops] from successful [shops] is their attitude towards asking for help,” notes Beckmann. “The successful ones will reach out for help quickly.” Video recordings of the presentations are available on the NASTF YouTube Channel. Visit www.youtube.com/NASTFdotOrg.
2004 Mazda ECM - During his thought-provoking presentation at the NASTF General Meeting, Bob Augustine (Tech Training Manager for Christian Brothers Automotive) posed a question to techs that could serve as a self-test to determine service-readiness: "What's the procedure for starting a 2004 Mazda after replacing the ECM?" If your answer is "call a locksmith", you are correct but YOU are not service-ready for Mazda. NASTF asked Augustine to provide a more complete answer for our Newsletter readers.:
"There are actually three different systems and two different procedures, depending on what model you are working.
"The MPV and Miata use MIS (Mazda Immobilizer System) and if the PCM is replaced, the immobilizer module has to be replaced with it. Programming them requires cycling the ignition switch in a timed sequence with the Immobilizer light in the instrument panel. The key cycles require input of an 8 digit "code word" that is shared between the modules. A NASTF LSID permits the tech to obtain the code word from Mazda.
"All other models use two of the variations of the Ford PATS (Passive Theft System), with coded access rather than timed cycles. (Ford uses a 10 minute timed period to access PATS. Mazda uses an INCODE and OUTCODE.) These functions must be performed via the Mazda IDS scan tool or using the Mazda Module Programming (MMP) application with a compatible J2534-1 hardware device. Again, a NASTF LSID permits the tech to obtain the INCODE from Mazda.
"My guess is most shops call a local locksmith or mobile diagnostic guy to come and program security issues. The sublet is usually around $100-$150 per visit." ...Bob Augustine, Christian Brothers Automotive.
Meeting Evaluation - Attendance for the March 8 Spring General Meeting was either good or bad, depending on your perspective. It's true that NASTF set the room to accommodate 100 people and the seats were only half full. And, yes, there were more than 2,000 technicians attending the VISION2013 Hi-Tech Conference, so you would expect more than the 25-35 techs to attend the NASTF session. On the good-side, an audio dial-in phone line was provided for NASTF Committee volunteers who were unable to travel to the live meeting in Kansas, and the phone-in attendance peaked at almost 50 lines, a huge increase over recent General Meetings. NASTF provided a copy of the presentation slides on-line for phone-in listeners to follow along. Dave Zwalina, owner of Automotive One (Longwood, FL), was one of the phone-in attendees and complimented NASTF on both the valuable content and the quality of the phone-in experience. Valerie Sullivan of Honda was one of eight OEM service operation representatives attending the session and also complimented NASTF on the value of the content.
So, yes, another 50-100 techs in the seats would have impressed us all. But, thanks to Pete Meier and Motor Age Magazine, the presentations were captured on video tape and published to the NASTF YouTube Channel, www.YouTube.com/NASTFdotORG, extending the remote attendance even further. "I count the NASTF@VISION2013 weekend a great success for us," remarked Skip Potter, NASTF Executive Director. "This is the beginning of a new strategy for the NASTF General Meetings, and this event is a successful first step." (For more about the proposed NASTF General Meeting strategy read below, Section: On My Mind.)
NASTF@AAPEX/SEMA2013 - The NASTF Fall 2013 General Meeting will be held 1-4:30pm
(Pacific time), Wednesday, November 6, 2013, in Las Vegas during the AAPEX and SEMA trade shows. Continuing with its theme to "connect techs and OEMs," NASTF expects to again include multiple OEM presentations and panelists hoping to attract a capacity crowd of shop owners and technicians for the afternoon's all-industry program. The meeting will be located in Room 605 (Casanova Hall) of the Sands Expo/Venetian, across from AAPEX Registration. No pre-registration is necessary to attend the NASTF General Meeting. However, registration for credentials into the AAPEX and SEMA trade shows is recommended. Visit www.AAPEXshow.com for information and to register.
NEWS FROM THE OEMs
8 OEMs Connect with Techs at VISION Meeting - NASTF greatly appreciated the participation of four OEM representatives on the OEM Roundtable Panel during the March 8 Spring General Meeting in Overland Park Kansas. But NASTF also enjoyed the attendance and opportunity for tech interaction when an additional four OEM representatives took the time to join us for that NASTF@VISION2013 meeting and trade show. Thanks to: Vince D'Auria (Volvo), Kelly Geist (Subaru), David Geiger (Porsche), Kurt Immekus (VW/Audi), Mark Saxonberg (Toyota), Bob Stewart (GM), Valerie Sullivan (Honda) and Jim Von Ehr (Nissan).
NASTF COMMITTEE NEWS
Equipment & Tool Committee - Donny Seyfer (pictured, right), Owner of Seyfer Automotive (Wheat Ridge, CO), is a Co-chair of the NASTF ETC and presented during the March 8 NASTF Spring 2013 General Meeting the Committee's strategy to replace the out-of-date NASTF Tool Matrix. Seyfer is seeking techs to assist with this project, inviting interested techs to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. View a pdf of his presentation HERE and see a sample of the proposed scan tool information sheets being produced by the ETC. Find all ETC documents from the Equip/Tool Committee page at www.nastf.org/Committees/ETC.
Collision Committee - Co-chair, Bob Chabot, Senior Partner of ManicMedia, made a passionate plea for collision industry professionals to get involved in his Committee. "Collision shops have some of the same information, tool and training issues that repair shops have," said Chabot, "and we don't want to get left behind in NASTF's important projects." Committee page at www.nastf.org/Committees/Collision
Vehicle Security Committee page at www.nastf.org/Committees/VSC.
Service Information Committee page at www.nastf.org/Committees/SIC
Education Committee - Co-chairs Karen Miller (PTS1) and Rob Morrell (Worldpac) discussed their views about OEM education resources before the NASTF Spring 2013 General Meeting audience citing new opportunities for NASTF involvement. Visit their page at www.nastf.org/Committees/Education.
Communications Committee page at www.nastf.org/Committees/Communications
FROM THE NASTF BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kathleen Schmatz, President/CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association was elected to fill a currently vacant seat on the NASTF Board of Directors effective April 4, 2013. Read the full press release HERE.
The NASTF Board met for a four-hour session in the morning of March 8 prior to the Spring General Meeting as part of NASTF@VISION2013 events. The next meeting of the Board will be the more typical conference call, scheduled for Thursday, April 18. To view a list of NASTF Officers and Directors visit www.nastf.org/NASTFboard.
NASTF Board of Directors (Clockwise from L/F): Charlie Gorman, Ron Pyle, David Lowell, Allen Pennebaker, Steve Douglas, John Cabaniss, Karen Miller, John Lypen & Scott Brown. On the phone: Doug Greenhaus, Steve Handschuh and Bill Long. Not available: Tony Molla.
ON MY MIND
Editorial by NASTF Executive Director, Skip Potter
General Meeting Attendance - The NASTF General Meeting is a 3-1/2 hour session of presentations and conversations among OEM service employees, independent shop owners, technicians, educators, the trade press and other players interested in NASTF products and initiatives. If the content of the session is compelling enough, every one of about 50,000 A-techs in the USA, hundreds of other techs, some 50,000 shop owners, all 46 of the NASTF OEM SIR contacts and hundreds of other industry executives would surely want to attend. Would 150 attendees be good?
VISION, the amazing collection of 100+ technical and shop management seminars across four days presented by ASA-Midwest near Kansas City is able to attract about 2% of the population NASTF is after, so we know it is unreasonable to expect many techs and shop owners would plan an overnight trip for one of our 3-1/2 hour NASTF sessions, no matter how interesting the content. What NASTF does know, however, is that it is better for our two-per-year General Meetings to be little fish in big seas (VISION or AAPEX/SEMA) rather than a big, lonely fish hoping hundreds will want to leave work and family for two days to visit with NASTF for 3-1/2 hours, anywhere or anytime.
I believe NASTF missed attracting another 50 techs and shop owners to our March 8 event at VISION2013 because we were late getting our meeting presentation topics and presenters to the VISION organizers. Consequently, NASTF was not listed in the early registration materials as a session option alongside the other popular content being advertised.
Some suggested we move the NASTF session to Friday evening, to Wednesday or to Sunday so that techs already registered for Friday afternoon training could attend. Even if that were possible, I would not have taken that option for two reasons: First, experience has taught me that night programs and pre or post-event programs are very poorly attended, anywhere. Second, out of respect for the association's networking dinners and their trade show exhibitors who paid a premium to see those techs and owners on the expo floor.
With the decision to co-locate our 2013 NASTF General Meetings at VISION and at AAPEX/SEMA the NASTF Board has already set a new strategy to focus locations on events where techs and shop owners are already attending. The objective is to make NASTF better known among that population.
We also know that OEM attendance would increase with tech attendance. We know, too, that techs look to NASTF for a connection to the OEM, so attendance of techs would increase with the attendance of OEMs. These OEM-Tech connections are actually part of the magical "content" that NASTF must use to establish value for our meetings. As much as possible, I hope to leverage having techs and OEM service people in the same room together and in a conversation you would hear nowhere else but a NASTF General Meeting. Unique and valuable content will help us attract a good share of attendance against other valuable options available to attendees when we are but a little fish in their big sea. My target is 100 on-site attendees because I like the diversity of expertise and energy brought by a crowd that size.
But battling for a share of on-site attendance for the 2-5% of the entire population interested in NASTF's content is not enough. We know thousands of potentially interested attendees just cannot for many reasons be with us in-person for our General Meetings twice a year. For them, NASTF needs to expand the availability of the event for two additional attendee groups: live remote and post-event. For the November 2013 General Meeting NASTF is planning to expand the phone-in option beyond the committee volunteers with on-line presentation materials and a monitored question/feedback feature to better involve the remote attendees. After the event is ended, NASTF has the opportunity to replay many of the meeting highlights and reach the balance of our interested audience who were unable to attend either in-person or via remote broadcast. With good content and bite-sized pieces of our valuable content, this could be NASTF's largest attendance group.
Ultimately, the combination of good content, sufficient in-person attendance, hundreds of remote attendees and thousands of post-event views, NASTF General Meetings will be able to say attendance was good; real good.
NASTF IS ON THE ROAD
VISION2013 - NASTF's schedule at VISION2013 was busy. The NASTF Board of Directors met for 4 hours on the morning of March 8, followed by the 3-1/2 hour afternoon Spring NASTF General Meeting. That night and most of the day following NASTF welcomed familiar names and new-to-NASTF industry professionals into the NASTF exhibit. In the exhibit, NASTF was able to demonstrate online navigation of the Service Information Request (SIR) form, explain the value of the Vehicle Security Professional Registry, brag about the work our NASTF Committees and sign-up those many who were missing from our newsletter mailing list.
ATMC - NASTF recently established a renewed partnership with the Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) which is already bearing cooperation. NASTF Executive Director, Skip Potter, was invited to participate during the ATMC Annual Meeting (April 15-17, Denver) in a panel discussion, "How Can We Share Information?". Additionally, Potter was invited to discuss NASTF with OEM training managers during their closing forum.
ETI Tool Tech - NASTF Executive Director, Skip Potter, will participate in a panel discussion about productive collaboration in the automotive industry during the Equipment & Tool Institute's popular ToolTech 2013, April 23-25 in San Diego, Calif.
ASA-AZ Sunrise - The Sunrise Automotive Training Expo & Convention in Prescott, Arizona, will provide a much needed break from the desert heat July 19-21 for shop owners and technicians of the Southwest USA. During the event, Skip Potter, Executive Director of NASTF, will speak to attendees about NASTF's great progress since it took root in Arizona in 1999.
NASTF IN THE NEWS
The VISION Video Network surprised us in the NASTF booth at the VISION2013 Expo and captured this NASTF commercial for all to see. View it HERE.
Pete Meier of Auto Pro Workshop/Motor Age donated his video camera and production talents to chronicle all the guest presentations of the NASTF Spring 2013 General Meeting. In addition to access from the NASTF YouTube Channel, you can view Pete's NASTF productions from his online Auto Pro Workshop.
Donny Seyfer, Co-chair of the NASTF Equipment & Tool Committee was featured in a story just released by industry trade publication, Parts & People. Click HERE to read Mathew Sevart's "Automotive Education, Training and Service Information is at the Forefront of Service-Readiness in the Aftermarket".