If you could have a fleet like Southwest Airlines and limit the fleet’s vehicles to one brand and one model, then parts, servicing, and maintenance would be the same for any tech no matter where and when. Business might be easier and more efficient.
But, you’re not Southwest and your technicians most likely have multiple brand equipment to keep up and running.
Specific brand equipment that is properly serviced and maintained by a tech whose training is verified by the OEM will probably enjoy a longer service life and greater resale value down the line. That technician is aware of a brand’s intricacies and quirks, so he will probably spend less time on tasks and return the vehicle to the field faster. Time and labor costs can be reduced, trial-and-error service methods are fewer, and less supplemental supplies are wasted.
Bob Bartley, Genie’s senior director of product support and reconditioning, says, “A trained technician not only knows how to read the equipment schematics and how to do the repair correctly but also knows how to get the repair done in the least amount of time, with a minimal amount of parts expense. This results in less downtime for the machine and a higher return on investment for the company.”
However, managers with mixed fleets may not have the financial resources, equipment downtime, or additional staff to send their service technicians for brand training and updates. As equipment manufacturers build more proprietary technology into their machines, it becomes difficult for seasoned service people to keep up. As for the newer techs just entering the field, if they haven’t had the opportunity to train with an OEM program or attend a well-rated vocational school, they have even less hands-on experience to draw from.
For that reason, Genie is taking its Tech-Pro online service training program to the public.
Earlier this month, Genie announced their Building the Future initiative to increase the number of service technicians qualified to service, maintenance, repairs, diagnostics and troubleshooting of boom lifts, scissor lifts and telehandlers.
While Bartley’s focus is on aerial equipment sold by Terex and Genie, his point extends to all manufacturers’ equipment. A large part of a fleet’s service and maintenance budget goes for the people doing the hands-on work. Maintenance software and planning ideas provided by well-meaning management are great but those won’t do much to keep costs down if the technician doesn’t know the equipment and its brand.
For the first time, the company is proactively taking its Tech-Pro training to community colleges and vocation schools. The schools can include the program in its curriculum at no charge.
Even better, Genie is giving 500 people an opportunity to complete the Tech-Pro program online, completely free and at the participant’s convenience. The fleet manager doesn’t have to pick up the cost of the worker’s out of town expenses or schedule limited labor resources to make up for the participant’s absence.
Participants who finish the online training receive a certificate of completion saying the technician is qualified to work on Genie products and the service department gets a higher skilled tech who contributes more efficiency to the shop’s bottom line.
Genie’s online training program will also help workers who don’t have an employer sponsor. Finding product training that is several grades above a YouTube video is tough and can be expensive. The key to the Genie program is the quality of the information and presentation. “Most of our customers say that the Tech Pro online training is so comprehensive their techs do not require additional hands-on training,” Bartley says.
Brand specific maintenance and service tech training is an investment in a fleet manager’s budget. Making that training accessible to technicians in a well thought out format and at a time that is convenient for both the tech and the company reinforces the efficiency maintenance management.