W.W. Williams
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Truck technicians and tools must meet modern demands

Nov. 29, 2023
The new generation of technicians demand versatile tools to improve truck uptime.

In our fast-paced world where information is just a click away, the new generation of aspiring truck technicians might struggle with the idea of spending unproductive time flipping through a stack of manuals to fix a truck. If wading through a greasy book stack is what the job requires, those technicians may simply move on to a more technology-centric position somewhere else. 

However, as technology continues to advance, it’s imperative to have the these technology-minded technicians—and a sufficient number of them—in order to meet the repair requirements demanded by today’s modern commercial truck industry.

Your customers, both now and in the future, expect your shop to be fully equipped to diagnose and fix these vehicles right the first time. The goal is to get them back on the road as quickly as possible because every vehicle that rolls into your shop needs to get back to work pronto. And more often, modern truck repairers are finding that digital alternatives to traditional shop methods improve fleet uptime and technician productivity.

The Challenge of modern truck repair

One thing to remember is that today’s trucks are significantly different from those that past generations operated or repaired. With advanced safety and technology features, they have become much more complex in the last 10 to 20 years. It’s rare for technicians, even those with extensive experience, to know everything about servicing every truck in existence.

Techs themselves are also becoming more rare. It’s no secret that there has been a shortage of technicians affecting not just this industry. That also has a major impact on the entire economy, which relies heavily on the productivity of commercial vehicles. Therefore, it is the responsibility of employers to build and maintain a satisfactory pool of skilled technicians to keep those vehicles moving.

The importance of modern tools

Truck repair provider W.W. Williams understands how important its technicians are to keeping its geographically dispersed customer base satisfied and returning for future repair needs.

 “It’s essential to incorporate web- or cloud-based diagnostic and repair tools into shop operations. These tools have become imperative in this modern age, not only to support recruitment efforts but also to provide technicians with updated information that is easily accessible,” said Rich Whiteley, vice president of operational development/integration, during a recent interview with Mitchell 1 staff.

The discussion further delved into the common challenge faced by truck repair sites in maintaining their technician employment numbers. Whiteley stressed that not only do recruited technicians expect these tools to be available, but they are also vital for effectively diagnosing and repairing vehicles on a daily basis.

Additionally, shops should consider that technicians today have an abundance of employment options with the freedom to choose workplaces offering better pay and optimal working conditions. This preference extends to modern shops that are equipped with both physical tools and information/software tools, as technicians recognize the value of working in an environment that is up-to-date and provides them with the necessary resources to be confident in efficient repairs.

Incorporating RPs for efficiency

Mitchell 1’s online TruckSeries maintenance software—utilized in all 25 of W.W. Williams’ truck repair locations across the U.S.—has recently integrated ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council’s (TMC) Recommended Practices (RPs). This allows TruckSeries users to effortlessly locate the most suitable RP for the specific task at hand, thanks to the platform's user-friendly and efficient search functionality. The best part is that it is quick and intuitive - meeting the expectations of the younger generation of technicians.

Read more: Mitchell 1 TruckSeries gets TMC RPs and more user-friendly wiring diagrams

This inclusion of Recommended Practices (RPs) in WW Williams' operations provides their technicians with a deeper understanding of the tasks they perform. For instance, instead of merely replacing a burnt-out light bulb, the RPs enable technicians to identify the underlying cause of the issue.

By addressing and fixing the root cause, they can prevent recurrence, thus eliminating the need for the truck to return for a similar issue. Whiteley expressed his satisfaction with this valuable information, acknowledging that it gives W.W. Williams an advantage over their competition in terms of repair efficiency and technician satisfaction.

About the Author

Kristy Coffman

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