Across the commercial vehicle service industry, there’s no question that ongoing technician training is critical. Up-to-date skills drive up shop productivity, keep labor and parts costs in check, and hold downtime to a minimum.
For fleets and their service providers, what may be just as vital—but perhaps overlooked—is the value of training parts room personnel. Incorporating parts inventory topics into training programs can help in several ways. One of the more important, is that a knowledgeable parts department staff can more effectively ensure an adequate inventory that keeps service operations as productive and efficient as possible.
There are several industry programs designed to train parts personnel that fleets can take advantage of including:
- The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers Parts Specialist Certification Tests. Included is the certification for a Medium-Heavy Truck Parts Specialist (P1). To become ASE certified, parts specialists must pass a 70-question exam on a range of components and systems as well as communication, sales, and inventory management skills that are considered an important part of a parts specialist’s job. They also must present proof of two years of work experience specifically related to parts counter work. Parts specialists must retest every five years to retain their certification. ASE Parts Specialist recertification tests are about half as long as the initial certification exams.
- The Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) offers training solutions for fleets and independent service shops. CVSN is working with top-quality training resources.
- The WheelTime Network of 16 parts and services providers with nearly 200 locations across the U.S. and Canada operates the WheelTime University, a cost-effective way to train personnel through solutions that follow the latest ASE standards.
Effective training is what sets companies apart from the competition. Training for parts expertise can be a valuable investment. That’s especially true as experienced people leave the workforce and take tribal and institutional knowledge with them.
Highly advanced e-commerce sites are also helping fill the knowledge gap. Those parts distribution platforms speedup the ability to supply information electronically and facilitate purchases and delivery of the right parts at the best price.
E-commerce parts suppliers also can do a lot more. They can help predict parts needs and establish effective ordering parameters and practices. They can use their repositories of information and advanced analytics tools to see details of previous purchases and they have an industry-wide view of parts usage to help compare quality, service life and costs among manufacturers.
Today, especially with current parts supply issues, using a single facing e-commerce platform for parts management and inventory control is more important and more valuable than ever. Along with training the people you’ve tasked with using its capabilities, it can help adapt effectively to challenges. Working with your suppliers and distributors to take advantage of those opportunities will be beneficial for your business.
David Seewack is the founder and CEO of FinditParts. Seewack is focused on transforming how heavy-duty truck and trailer parts are bought and sold. Founded in 2010, FinditParts is the No. 1 supplier of these parts online, with more than 10 million available from more than 1,800 manufacturers and customers in over 210 countries.
This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.