Dealerships' parts and service departments have a talent problem.
They can have the most advanced technology in the industry, but it won't mean anything if there aren't enough technicians who know how to use it.
"The problem today is people," said Harry Hollenberg, partner of Carlisle & Co., during a fixed operations panel presentation at the Automotive News Retail Forum here Thursday. "We can have the greatest integrated technology, but if we are unable to recruit and retain satisfied technicians, it's not going to do us any good."
Carlisle & Co. is a management consulting firm specializing in automotive aftersales.
Hollenberg was joined at the event by Frederiek Toney, president of Global Ford Customer Service, and Mark Smith, president of Principle Auto, a dealership group with eight stores in Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Topics included the talent shortage in the fixed ops industry, integrity in the business and the main gripes that technicians have with their jobs.
Ford's Toney said the talent crisis will need to be tackled by generating interest in the industry among children while they are in their formative years.
"We have to educate our kids and ensure that they want to be engineers and technicians," Toney said.