The world's biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles has a network of elite dealers that set the bar for service and repair within the industry. However, the shortage of qualified diesel technicians within the United States is making it difficult for those dealers to find, hire and retain the technicians they need to keep up with demand. This shortage is expected to intensify over the next 7 years as demand for diesel technicians increases nationwide by over 12%* and over 67,000 diesel technicians retire. To continue meeting service and repair promises and goals, the dealers need to solve the technician shortage and/or find new ways to attract, train, hire and retain the talent they need. *Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016
Research and analysis were conducted to understand and quantify the gap between the current and desired service & repair performance and technician availability. Information was gathered on root causes and the success or failure of actions taken to date to address the technician shortage. Key stakeholders from all over the country, including dealers, customers, technicians, students, schools, vocational colleges, career services counselors and local government agencies, were interviewed and/or participated in one of several three-day ideation workshops to discuss the technician shortage and develop innovative solutions.
The root causes of the technician shortage were identified and confirmed. Over 250 innovative solution concepts were identified, developed, prioritized and categorized. Thirty 'just do it' solutions, determined to offer relatively high returns for minor effort and investment were codified as best practices and shared across the dealer network for immediate implementation. Ten larger strategic solution concepts, determined to offer the potential for very high returns but that require significantly more effort, investment and/or are more difficult to implement, were prioritized for presentation to senior leadership and project charters and initial implementation plans developed.