Discussion:
finding/hiring technicians

Always a constant battle to find experienced techs! I am interested in sharing ways that we find experienced personnel in an ever tightening field. It seems we hire several guys from construction or automotive to cross train and only keep 1.
  • Posted 18 Apr 2008 00:28
  • Discussion started by JDBurton
  • Virginia, United States
Showing items 1 - 13 of 13 results.
road rat,

After 41 years in the lift truck industry I decided to retire from it (or as I like to say I turned it over to the "younger guys" to screw it up as much as I did.)

I'd like to say I will miss it but I won't for now.

Your comments are right on the money - working and life is and always will be a give and take situation. Today there are way too many that only want to take or have the attitude "what are you going to do for me".

Having experienced the 1973 - 74 and the 1981 - 82 economic down turns gave me an greater appreciation for what dealers and manufactuers go through when times get really tough. We haven't come close to those low points since.
  • Posted 15 Jul 2008 21:48
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
"Have An Exceptional Day!"
Response to johnr j: Haven't seen ya much, good to hear from you.
I have been watching the posts concerning training and thought Id throw my 2 cents in.
Investment works both ways, If an employer is willing to invest time and money in a person, the employee should have a part in this investment also, meaning investing their time.
The more knowledge and training a person has the more valuable they will become.
Employees have a part to play, it is not one sided. When you see the part of your insurance and the matching money to Social Security the company has to pay, plus Workers Comp, it is a bunch.
I don't have a problem with investing some of my time to be a better employee, It comes back at review time.
How many problems do you solve, and at what level. It might take a while for it to show up, but the right people will eventually notice and you will be rewarded.
In the last 30 years, I have noticed an attitude change in employees, they have become selfish and are constantly looking for what others can do for them instead of what they can do for others.
Let's do something different and start doing what we can for the people we work for and be "Thankfull "we have a job, because as times get harder and companies "belly up", there will be an influx of potential employees, Try being more "valuable", that way if your boss has to "Thin the Herd", you won't be on that list.
Now, let me get down off my soap box.
As Ed would say...."In my humble opinion"
  • Posted 15 Jul 2008 10:54
  • Reply by roadrat
  • North Carolina, United States
"ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?"
I think it is right for tech to get paid overtime for traveling to and from a course they are still working because the training course benifits the company not the technician with all these trackers in the van and van tax laws now if a tech is to legally drive to and from a course after work hours he has to be classed as working so he has to be paid because the tech can not use his van for private use after work ours if he is opted out the van tax and if he has an accident in the van after hours and hasnt got his work times in thats trouble all the way.(talking about in the uk were van tax applys to all work vans).
  • Posted 15 Jul 2008 04:00
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
roadrat,

I have worked for both the manufacturer and dealer level.

I think you will find that manufactuers do offer service training programs (at the factory and and on regional basis) and some thru regional service manager training on periodic dealer visits. Most of these programs are provided at some cost to the participant but it is generally below the cost to conduct the program. My experience is that dealers (certainly not all - the successful dealers invest in there emplyees and traing is one of the key investments) are reluctant to send people to the schools due to costs travel, motel, some techs demand over time pay to travel on Sun, Sat or after 5PM. If you want to go fishing, got to cut bait.

You are correct that after the sale support (meaning service, parts, rental equipment, accurate invoicing, repair quotes accuracy, etc.) is key for customer retainment. It is much easier to get a new customer from a sales standpoint that to try to get one back when the after the sales support takes a tumble. Generally speaking a customer that is lost is lost for 10 or more years - they have good memories ya' know. And it is understood that a dealer (and most businesses) will loose about 10% of their customers each year which also means that you have to increase your new customer base by more than 10% to grow and expand. It is far easier to loose a customer than it is to gain a new one - competition has a lot to say about it.
  • Posted 15 Jul 2008 02:54
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
"Have An Exceptional Day!"
Offering apprenticeships is a good idea but at the end of there training if u dont pay them the going rate for that area they will leave for more money.Anybody that has been a mobile engineer knows that when your out and about fixing customer trucks and if that person is good at there job they often get offered jobs buy the customer or the engineer hears of jobs going at that place and if its more money which it often is there off.
But what i would say the biggest problem there is a shortage of skilled workers due to people leaving the trade or companys not training apprentices the only way to rectifiy it would be if all the garage took on apprentices that would help to reduce the shortage of mechanics.
You have read me going on about low wages but working in a happy workforce is worth more than moving to another job for a pound more an hour.
  • Posted 13 Jul 2008 09:04
  • Modified 13 Jul 2008 09:05 by poster
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
material handling business has always been the lowest paid for mechanics due to competive competition between dealers thats the problem and sad really when u think about it mobile engineer is on the frontline of the business in respect of dealing with the customer he has to diagnose order parts fix truck arrang time with customer for repairs keep customer happy has to be able to work unspervised organise his own work load for a low wage compared to other places and then u get another mechanic that is working in a garage fixing lorrys that just does what the supervisor tells him doesnt have half the responsibilitys a mobile engineer has and gets payed more and is in a warm garage were the mobile engineer has to work out in all weather conditions and bad environments
  • Posted 13 Jul 2008 08:53
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
I would like to see the forklift manufactures and dealers work together to come up with a solution to this problem, after all SERVICE for their products will be needed LONG after the SALE.
Sevice has always been an important part of the picture, I have seen customers who were "DIEHARDS" for a particular Brand, but made a change to another because the service was better.

Selling material handling equipment is important but service is equally if not more,

How well you take care of a customers equipment will determine your next SALE!
That sweet taste that a customer gets after the SALE will quickly turn sour after a few doses of lousy service
In my opinion they need to think of the service side of this Indusrty as well as the marketing side, You can have the best lift on the market, with all kinds of "Bells and Whistles" , but what good will it be if you cannot get it repaired correctly and in a reasonable amount of time at a fair price. It's NOT the customers responsibility to provide a machine for a "GREEN HORN" to practice on as well as pay for the time, I have seen this in the past.
No matter what brand it is, it will eventually need "Fixin", but it needs to be done by someone who knows what they are doing.
  • Posted 25 Apr 2008 12:14
  • Modified 30 Apr 2008 20:25 by poster
  • Reply by roadrat
  • North Carolina, United States
It would be beneficial to the Industry if Dealers would offer an Apprenticeship program using guys from the automotive schools that were interested, but I probably know what the answer would be to this idea.
  • Posted 25 Apr 2008 08:31
  • Modified 25 Apr 2008 12:22 by poster
  • Reply by roadrat
  • North Carolina, United States
Pretty much the same thing here. I tried working with several community colleges and offered to come in and donate a lift and tech the class as an option to automotive students. The colleges all turned it down. One told me the program is funded by automotive manufacturers so they could not. Another told me enrollment is so low in any tech field because the high schools discourage technical careers due to funding being provided based on kids attending 4 year colleges.
  • Posted 24 Apr 2008 23:00
  • Reply by JDBurton
  • Virginia, United States
I would be interested as to why more are not coming into our industry, and what we could do to make it more appealing.
I worked in car dealers and indepenent garages many years ago, and after I got a taste for working on equipment, I would never go back to automotive.
We have been able to get some Techs from other dealers who wanted to make a change, but they have been in it a good while. We brought in a young guy who used to be in aviation, He turned into a real good Roadtech.
I know some guys who used to be " inhouse" Techs for manufacturing plants that took a shot at it, but got out of it because they did'nt like dealing with customers and paperwork.
  • Posted 22 Apr 2008 09:16
  • Modified 22 Apr 2008 09:22 by poster
  • Reply by roadrat
  • North Carolina, United States
I agree, we have had luck with ex-military. Trade schools and community colleges realy seem to shy away from the industry in favor of auto mechanics. What will the world do when all the techs retire?
  • Posted 22 Apr 2008 04:20
  • Reply by JDBurton
  • Virginia, United States
There are very few young guys coming into this field, it's getting hard to find guys who will go out on the road. Shop guys are easier to find.
  • Posted 20 Apr 2008 13:23
  • Reply by roadrat
  • North Carolina, United States
I was hired out of the military in 95. The company i worked for hunted ex military techs. The thought process was the techs had the basic skills already, were used to working off hours, and were normally clean looking
  • Posted 18 Apr 2008 01:42
  • Reply by JonG
  • United States

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