TireNews November 2018
The November issue of TireNews is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of TireNews, Jack Kazmierski.
We need to figure out how to properly staff today’s tire shops in order to provide the quality service consumers demand.
Call me “Captain Obvious,” but we have a serious shortage of qualified help in our industry. Case in point, when swapping my tires recently for a set of winters, I had to wait three days to get them installed and balanced. Not only because the shop was booked solid with appointments, but because they only had one tech on staff who was qualified to operate a certain tire balancer, and he was off with an injury.
That’s insane, especially when you consider that this is the ultra-busy season for everyone in the tire business.
Now, I don’t know what the problem was. It could have been a lack of planning on the part of the retailer, a lack of training (perhaps this retailer thinks he doesn’t need more techs trained on a particular piece of equipment), or just a lack of quality technicians overall. But whatever it is, we need to address it.
The bigger picture
Granted, the shortage of qualified staffers is not a problem that’s exclusive to tire retailers. The auto industry in general seems to be struggling with the problem, and answers are few and far in between.
Part of the problem is that today’s youth is encouraged to pursue a university degree and to aim for a career that has them sitting behind a desk, rather than under a vehicle. There’s not much we can do to change the conversation students are having with their guidance counsellors, but perhaps we can join in the conversation and tell them how rewarding a career can be in the trades. If we don’t do it, who will?
Perhaps shop owners need to invest more in hiring and training the right people? Perhaps the pay scale can be improved? Perhaps working conditions are part of the problem? To be frank, I don’t have the answers, even though I can see the problem… and I’m sure you do too.
The bottom line is that whatever we, as an industry, are doing right now isn’t working. We need some fresh out-of-the-proverbial-box thinking that will allow us to better plan for these biannual crunch times, and allow tire retailers to deliver the quality service consumers expect, and to do so in a timely fashion. If you have a fool-proof recipe for success, I’d love to hear from you.