In a recent five-part series written exclusively for Counterman, industry consultant Tom Easton said, “Business impact and ROI are the only reasons for training and employee education programs.” For automotive aftermarket suppliers, knowing that your end-user has a good working knowledge and understanding of your product is vital. It not only ensures that your product will be used or installed correctly and safely, but is also yet another way to reinforce your brand’s image and reputation of quality something all aftermarket suppliers strive for today.
Easton noted that the 2006 State of the Industry report produced by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) revealed that U.S. businesses are making a substantial investment in employee learning and development. According to the report, the learning investment per employee increased by 4 percent from 2004 to 2005. The average annual investment per employee for learning and development increased to $1,424 in 2005. Other companies are investing 2.2 percent of their total payroll costs into employee learning and development.
At the 2007 Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS), held last month in Chicago, audience members were asked what percentage of their company’s payroll is dedicated to educating and training service and repair customers. Sadly, more than half (57 percent) said that only 0 to 1 percent of their company’s budget is used for training service and repair customers. Twenty-one percent of companies represented at GAAS said their company spends 1 to 2 percent and another 21 percent said their company dedicates more than 2 percent of its annual budget for training and education of these customers.
Considering its importance, we asked two aftermarket suppliers how they specifically are addressing the need for training and education of service and repair customers. Here’s what they said:
Phil Moore, Vice President of Marketing, Federated Auto Parts
“Federated has increased the focus on training for our service and repair customers. As an example, this year we have included training modules in the Federated Car Care program for members at no charge and have also included substantial discounts for some of the most comprehensive training in the industry. In addition, we continue to work closely with our manufacturer partners to promote training that can be delivered locally or regionally. At Federated, we believe that training for technicians and service providers is essential for the future and we plan to increase our focus and budgets in this area in the years to come.”
John Scott, Automotive National Sales Manager, Penray
“Training and education lay the groundwork for Penray and its customers to grow. We have many products that require users to do more than read copy on a label to become knowledgeable. Even commodity items have idiosyncrasies that make them unique. In order for our customers to be successful with our line, they must understand the technical aspects of the products and be able to convey that message to their customers. The Penray sales force spends thousands of hours training each month and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis.”
aftermarketNews Editor Amy Antenora and Counterman Editor Brian Cruickshank contributed to this report.