A commitment to training equals big savings
By Kelly Reagan
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Blue Seal is not easy to obtain for any organization. It demonstrates a commitment to labor and management working together to effect change. The city of Columbus has obtained this recognition for the last 9 consecutive years. We are the largest municipality in the United States to hold this record of achievement.
So, why is this commitment to training important? As managers we are often forced to look for opportunities within our organization, by reducing expenses and raising employee morale. Training appeals to this mantra. We have come to realize that by investing in our employees we are better able to reduce expenses in supplier services by investing in our people.
Over the last seven years, we have reduced our supplier services (work sent out the door/not being done by our in-house technicians) by a staggering $1.5 million. We have accomplished this by increasing our training budget and preparing our technicians to do the work previously accomplished by outside vendors.
We know that for every dollar we invest in a technician toward training, we have a payback of $22. This is a home run in an industry that realizes 10-12 percent increases annually in labor and parts. We also know through our benchmarking that we outsource about seven percent of our work while the industry standard is almost 25 percent.
Because our employees are better trained they are prepared to become the very best in their chosen vocations. Our technicians feel better about themselves and understand that management understands the importance of training. Employee morale is a tremendous benefit of training as this makes them stronger in their chosen fields.
While this can create additional opportunities for our employees with other firms, our hope is that our technicians stay employees with us. To date we have 525 ASE certifications and 24 master certified technicians. We also have forty-nine employees on the floor that hold 143 Emergency Vehicle technician (EVT) with 14 Master status.
All this training and certification delivers us the coveted ASE Blue Seal recognition on an annual basis, proving to the world and our customers that the division of fleet knows what they are doing and are true professionals in their chosen fields.
Kelly Reagan is Fleet Administrator for Columbus, Ohio