PAT BURROW is the Technical Director for International Lubricants, Inc., the parent company of Lubegard branded products. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Lubegard products, call 800.333.LUBE or visit: www.lubegard.com
I was invited to Brazil to introduce technicians and mechanics to service technology and products widely available in the United States. In Brazil, the array of products available was not so different. However, the perceptions and general knowledge of the service industry were based on a system that was changing rapidly as drivers’ needs were evolving at a daunting rate.
Being a part of the automotive service industry today is the outcome of my experience for the last three decades (3.8 to be exact), in part due to the changes that drove the hiring and firing of millions of us involved in industrial and automotive service and maintenance. Having a front row seat for the last 30 years has forced me to come to the realization that our concerns about the attitudes of up-and-coming generations have been profoundly shaped by my generation’s workplace experiences. Wondering how we will get younger workers interested in taking jobs in service and maintenance
Every segment of the current automotive aftermarket seems to be in a perpetual state of turmoil driven by technology, complicated by the changing needs and perceptions of our customers and suppliers. When you factor in the move by OEMs to establish their own nationally available OEM private label brand or “approved” products (that enable non-dealerships entities to sell value lines with the perception of the backing of the trusted OE brand), it gets even more lopsided.
Because we live in a world of changing values and emerging technologies that turn our lives around so quickly, it is reassuring to discover some of the values we hold closest as Americans, are no different when things take a turn for the worse.
Many challenges are faced by those who choose to run a business with the sole purpose of providing an added-value alternative to the complicated and expensive task of maintaining our ability to work and play when and where we desire. With our freedom and mobility powerfully linked to the automobile, service and maintenance has turned into an opportunity for those up to the challenge. In the end, we who accept the challenge are confronted by the fact that those we seek to help rarely understand the why or how when it comes time to make added-value service decisions about
Attending group or association meetings with the automotive crowd allows me access to some of the best insights into what drives our robust domestic automotive aftermarket. You get a chance to sit and talk with diverse groups of store owners, shop mangers and their employees, each bringing their local and personal perspectives to the conversation. My latest epiphany came at breakfast meetings with counter people from automotive stores all over North America. After one of the sessions, the subject of seasonal service came up, leading to a discussion of the evolution of this annual tradition and how much its
A conversation with an old friend — retired from a lifetime in the automotive business as owner and manager of a family-owned garage — got me thinking about older cars and how we maintain them. When he got started in the business, it was 1950, he was 16 and his family-owned garage had been around since 1924. Needless to say, he has accumulated a large collection of automobilia over the years and loves showing it off. The thing, or should I say the sign, that started us down the path of a memorable conversation was central in his collection.
In this Internet-driven, instant information world, we sometimes take for granted that others in our service business understand all aspects of what we provide customers. Recent conversations with shop owners prompted me to start asking a simple question when products, services and potential for improved ticket totals came up — how do you market your additives? The general confusion and misinformation that often came with their answer made me realize many of us in this business are missing an opportunity due to lack of knowledge. Knowing what additives are, in context to, what they specifically do and how they
Sometimes, you encounter a statement that is so powerful, it applies not only to the field of concern the author was addressing but to the assertions apply equally to most aspects of our lives. The quote is simple and profound. “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” –William Bruce Cameron (1963) Realizing this issue of NOLN is the Technician of the Year issue, I was taken with how applicable Cameron’s words were when applied to career automotive technicians and how their peers become their judges. In our business, car counts and
In a world of changing technology, we often underestimate the rate of change and fall behind in ways that have a negative impact on our lives and business. Service centers and shops today have to be able to provide service and fluid for three types of automatic transmissions, not just the traditional step automatic transmission we all grew up with.Recent advances in vehicle technology have complicated what used to be simple and it is becoming a bigger problem. This is especially true for automatic transmissions.Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT)The CVT is an automatic transmission that can change seamlessly through a
In this issue of NOLN is an update of the new ILSAC GF-6 gasoline engine oil specification, the new PC-11 diesel engine oil specification and new information on future versions of dexos engine oil for GM applications. These specs will have reduced viscosity, fuel efficient versions that are backward compatible and some that are not. They will all cost more and will make the job of being “the expert” even more challenging.In the meantime, fuel prices are on the way back up, and a lot of families are getting the family “vacationmobile” ready for the road. Since we do
As times change, we must change with them or be left behind. This is as true in the automotive services industry as in life. One of the best ways to stay abreast of the changes in the fast lube industry is presented annually in the National Oil & Lube News Fast Lube Survey. With average ticket totals flat lining ($71 in 2014, $69 in 2015), the need for additional sources of revenue becomes clear. Historically, we have focused on increasing car counts, but don’t forget the opportunities you have to increase additional service sales to care for your customers