I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about our industry. I’ve been doing it a long time. Long enough so I can’t remember not doing it.
For years, it was just one column flowing from the office and the shop floor. Then, it was a second column written to distribution and manufacturing. Now, it’s two columns, this blog, the bi-monthly webcasts I’ve been presenting for the past year and a monthly newsletter produced for our customers and clients.
That’s a lot of time lost in thought, analyzing what shop owners like me go through every day: a lot of time spent trying to capture the most important elements of our experience well enough to share them in a host of different venues. Something has to drive the kind of extreme commitment that draws you to your home office every night and every weekend for hours at a time. There has to be a pretty powerful “Why?”
Well, if it’s true that beliefs influence purpose… and, purpose drives behavior… here are mine.
I believe the motoring public deserves the finest quality parts and the best possible service available… provided they are willing to make the investment that kind of service and those kinds of parts require.
I believe members of the repair community deserve more… provided we make the necessary commitment and are willing to invest in our profession, our industry and ourselves.
I believe just as strongly that unless we can differentiate ourselves: our ability and the quality of our service from those in our industry who are not willing to do as much or go as far, we will never achieve the respect or reap the rewards we have worked so hard for.
I believe we do this through explanation, education and our actions and interactions with the vehicle owner.
Those beliefs have given my life purpose and that purpose fuels virtually everything I write: everything I do.
One of the things that bothers me most about our current reality is the fact the technology repair professionals deal with every day has all but escaped the vehicle owner in virtually every aspect of the vehicle’s operation.
The automobile once acted as a kind of “technological bridge” between the average man or woman and the world in which they lived. You could move the throttle and watch fuel squirt into the venturi. That technology was not only visible, it was almost understandable. It was easy to understand how points worked: you could see them open and close and you didn’t need an Owner’s Manual to tell you when to change the oil: engines were less efficient and you could almost see the contaminants turn the oil black while you watched.
Today, that bridge is down. The vehicle has infinitely more computing power than anyone could purchase and put on their desktop. The vehicle’s on-board computer is exponentially faster and more powerful: period!
They don’t understand computerized engine management, active suspensions, modern lube requirements, extended service intervals, controlled vehicle comfort systems, anti-lock braking systems or in-vehicle entertainment any more than they could tell you how their home thermostat, refrigerator, entertainment center or Wi-Fi works. They don’t know – or, care – what makes their 3-D, 60″ LCD Flat Screen function. They just want it to work.
They want their vehicles to “work” also. The only problem is the vehicle is maintenance intensive and justifying that maintenance demands explanation and understanding.
I’ve started writing about these maintenance-related issues and more more for you – our customers, and the general public, in the hope it will help tell our side of the maintenance story.
It’s my hope that by sharing what’s inside my head we’ll be a little closer to getting to where we need to go: a place we will never see unless or until you both know and understand what your automotive service professional is doing and why he or she is doing it… what you need to do and why it’s in your best interest to do it.
Till then, stay well, take care, make money, have fun and don’t do business with anyone you don’t like. That’s the same advice I’ve been giving shop owners for years. There’s probably a good reason you don’t like that person whoever they might be and there’s no need to find out what that reason is!