Modern Tire Dealer

NOV 2018

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 8 44 ATTRACTING YOUNG BLOOD As a typical example of Generation X with a millennial son and millennial employees, I am constantly trying to figure out how I can motivate and manage these young people, who are so unlike me now or who I was when I was their age, at least that I can remember. While the methods for servicing pas- senger and light truck tires have evolved since I started in the tire business 36 years ago, most of the tools and "technology" for servicing commercial truck tires have not changed. A recent study suggests that more than half of the workforce will be millennials by the end of 2019. So suggesting they follow traditional methods for truck tire service such as demounting and mounting tires using tire irons is like asking them to change the channel without a remote or use a rotary pay phone to make a call. Gadget tools that take the place of tire irons may seem like a step in the right direction, but most young people are still going to see a lot of extra effort and labor. e level of technological dependence/ intuition for this generation is unlike anything we have ever seen, so doing anything by hand is probably considered undesirable. Commercial truck tire dealers also need to be more aware of the company image and energy if they want to attract quality workers. A good 20-something potential employee probably has options that pay the same with a lot less work. e best candidates need to be convinced the truck tire industry could be their ticket to a long and prosperous career. ere needs to a starting point that is both clearly defined and just that, a start. By no means am I an expert on millennials, but I have some insight I think may help the Boomers and Gen X'ers relate to the future of the commercial tire service workforce. First impressions are everything for the quality millennial candidate. Young people with options are looking for some curb appeal to the business. Well lit, clean and organized with modern equipment is a must. ey have to see that there is some structure, and technology is being used to make the job easier. ree guys demounting and mounting endless tires by hand with tubeless tire irons and bucket of soap? e good candidates are moving on. ree guys operating a truck tire changing machine in a well-organized system? Now you might have their attention. Millennials are collaborators. When they see everyone working together so no one has to work harder than anyone else, everybody wins. Everyone gets a trophy. Equally important is the need to be honest in describing the job. I used to tell prospective truck tire technicians that when it's hot, they will sweat; when it's cold, they will be cold; and when it rains, they will get wet. It is a physical job that will always be physical. is upcoming generation spends more on fitness than any other. All joking aside, we could probably save them some money on gym memberships with all the liing and physical work that happens on a daily basis. If they are really into it, truck tire service would be a great warmup for the gym aer work. I would even consider paying for the gym membership if it meant landing a good technician. A NEW STARTING POINT Truck tire service isn't pretty, so there has to be something in place to dress it up and make it look more attractive. Again, it goes deeper than a fresh coat of paint on the walls and an expensive machine in the corner, although that helps. What is the onboard process? What about training? Will they be given a mentor in the beginning to "show them the ropes"? Members of this generation like to have their hands held at first because someone has been holding their hands at critical moments for most of their lives. Legally they are adults, but emotionally, many of them are still a little unsure of how they will survive totally on their own. If you want to attract quality young technicians, then they have to see that you have plans to help them succeed from the first day. Historically, most new hire truck tire technicians have started the job in the shop. For millennials, it needs to start in the classroom or at a computer terminal. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.177, every employee who touches a tire on a truck or an off-road machine must be trained. e content required by OSHA creates the need for some instructional training that is best completed in a classroom environment. en there is a skills requirement that must be met, along with regular evaluations to ensure the employee is maintaining an acceptable level of proficiency. I'm probably a little biased, but any tire dealer who services truck and/or off-road tires should make sure every technician completes the 200-Level commercial program offered by the Tire Industry Association (TIA). DRIVERS NEEDED Once the mentors sign off on the new hire training process, some of those employees will stay in the shop, but the ones with a good driving record have the prospect of operating a road service truck. Looking back, some of my favorite times in the tire business were running a service truck. e combination of windshield time and no supervision had definite appeal to a teenager and college student working over the summer. Potential employees need to see it's all part of the package that leads to the goal. One trait of millennials is their need to be challenged. I cannot think of a better place for challenges than emergency tire road service. at's what appealed to me many years ago. It was me and my truck; no matter what was thrown at me, I had to figure it out. Mobile truck tire technicians can make a good living if they drive safely and obey traffic laws while taking care of themselves. How is the employer going to help them reach that goal? Of course, none of that will matter if the fleet is a hodge-podge of old trucks and junkyard Frankensteins. e days of 2-55 air conditioning (both windows down at 55 mph) and a wooden plank for loading tires should be long gone. Modern service trucks with hydraulic li gates and other features that make it easier for the technician are going to be the deal maker. If OTR and farm tire service are part of the equation, it opens up an entirely different aspect of mobile service with a R e c r u i t i n g M i l l e n n i a l s HISTORICALLY, MOST NEW HIRE TRUCK TIRE TECHNICIANS HAVE STARTED THE JOB IN THE SHOP. FOR MILLENNIALS, IT NEEDS TO START IN THE CLASSROOM OR AT A COMPUTER TERMINAL.

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