Modern Tire Dealer

NOV 2018

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 49 of 111

M T D N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 8 46 higher degree of technology (not to mention a higher degree of compensation). MORE THAN TIRE SERVICE e impact of the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program has opened up additional career paths for those on the technician track. Rather than transi- tion into an OTR/farm tire technician, the growing need for light mechanical repairs/ maintenance has already led a number of commercial tire dealers to open up new truck and trailer service divisions. Technicians who show a higher level of technical aptitude become ideal candidates for a fleet service position. ey still service the occasional tire or two, but most of their time is spent on lights, brakes and other basic mechanical components in need of repair. Fleets cannot risk maintenance viola- tions with the new CSA reporting require- ments, and the government has data that proves it's working, which means it's not going anywhere. As a result, the overall cost of maintenance citations to the fleets is growing because substandard scores are a flashing red light for roadside inspectors. It's as simple as the worse the score, the more frequent the inspections. at is why more commercial tire dealers are positioning themselves as total mainte- nance partners who can handle everything short of major repairs. Millennials looking for a career path that involves working with their hands and their minds could be ideal in a light mechanical position. It could be a dream come true for each of you. Other job candidates might need to see a different picture. e service truck becomes just another step on the ladder. Aer an onboarding process that includes significant training and a mentorship period with an experienced technician who understands and embraces the role, there is a period of time working in the shop under the supervision of management and experienced technicians. When the collective group feels the technician is competent, the promotion to mobile service takes place. From there, the employee spends a few years learning the trade and, more importantly, the custom- ers. Aer a while, the relationships built on service truck duty become the perfect foundation for a career in sales. is change in the career path involves more mentor- ing from an older and more experienced salesperson, as well as additional sales training on products and techniques. It's the type of move that provides more flexibility (something millennials crave), more income (something they expect) and the start of a long relationship with the employer and the customers (something they value). For super ambitious millennials, there is the road to an executive, management or ownership position. In order for that to happen, they have to understand that whatever path they choose has the potential for greater things down the road. For large companies, there are countless management positions that will become available as the Boomers and Gen Xers retire. Tire dealers historically "grow their own" and promote from within. If the company values a col- lege degree, then tuition reimbursement might need to be part of the package for the right candidate. Aer they see the plans and how they might fit into the big picture, there needs to be an environment that is appealing and nurturing. e best millennials recognize that people make companies successful, so they are looking for a workplace with a positive vibe. Again, that collaborative spirit of working together with the support of a manager or supervisor who wants to help them attain their long-term goals is important. At the same time, they need to feel that they can approach management with new ideas, and sometimes they just want to be heard. Increased sensitivity and the need for safe spaces are millennial trademarks that cannot be ignored. INFUSION OF NEW BLOOD Servicing truck tires is a dirty job, and it will always be dirty to some degree. It takes someone with a strong constitution to go into that arena every day regardless of the circumstances or weather conditions and get the job done. e best millennial prospects might need to be convinced that there is a good life with steady pay and room for advancement under all of that dirt and chaos. Outside all the noise made by impact wrenches, bead-seating tanks and repair tools, there is an industry that literally keeps the world moving. In a tight job market, the truck tire business is more challenged than ever to find good employees. It's not pretty and it definitely isn't clean, but it doesn't have to be so physically demanding. Road service trucks in Europe have tire changing machines that literally fold out the side. While this model will not realistically replace standard service trucks in the North American market given the number of tire service vehicles in operation, I suspect we will be seeing more of them domestically in the future. For example, rather than put a lot of physical demands on a technician by send- ing them out for 10 or 20 wide-base single demounts and mounts at the customer's yard, make the investment in one service truck with a machine. at market is fairly well established, and changing those tires by hand is incredibly physical. One or two a day won't add up to much, but the process still takes a toll on the body, so multiple wide-base single demounts and mounts by hand are going to exact a cost over time. On the other hand, add several two- bar restraining devices with a multi-tire inflation system to a mobile tire changing machine, and you have a portable tire shop that can literally operate day aer day without any physical limitations. We are facing a major talent gap in the truck tire industry. Each year, more Boomers are getting set to retire. Millennials are in the perfect position to take over the industry when they are at a much younger age than the generations before them. If commercial tire dealers are thinking about planning for the future, then the search for top quality talent needs to begin soon. We as an industry must convince members of Generation Y that the truck tire business has the potential for career advancement and the lifestyle many mil- lennials value the most. However, we must also recognize thatsome serious changes need to be made before we can hope the good ones will even take the time to look or listen. ■ Kevin Rohlwing is the Tire Industry Association's senior vice president of training. R e c r u i t i n g M i l l e n n i a l s FLEETS CANNOT RISK MAINTENANCE VIOLATIONS WITH THE NEW CSA REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

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