This past Tuesday we held a webinar to examine the Impact of Vehicle Electrification on Technician Safety research results and discuss industry stakeholder recommendations. Joe Barkai and I were joined by distinguished guest speaker Mark Saxonberg, an SAE representative and manager of Advanced Fuel Vehicles, Environment, Industry and Government Relations at Toyota Motor Sales. Questions and comments streamed in during and after the webinar about the study, service information and supporting technology, indu
The background and key findings of the over 2000 participant study conducted jointly with the SAE were discussed in my previous blog post, "Are Electric Vehicles Safe?" The study findings emphasized the need for better information tools and the webinar went in depth into the recommendations for OEMs, technicians and software providers to help ensure the safety of technicians servicing advanced electric vehicles. We encourage those of you who missed the webinar to visit the replay, but here are some of the key recommendations we discussed:
- OEMs must ensure the efficacy of service information and information tools (i.e. content is accurate, up to date, VIN specific, etc.) and ensure they have a structured approach to defining, authoring, delivering and improving information. Manufacturers should also leverage analytics to understand the use (and thereby usefulness) of service information, and on service and warranty information to improve repair effectiveness.
- The role of IT is an important one for OEMs in delivering accurate, current and VIN specific service and safety information to technicians in the field. Software providers must be able to not only enable OEMs, but also demonstrate a realistic and credible understanding of service operations to gain the trust of OEMs and effectively build long-lasting partnerships. It is with this understanding that software providers should be working to continually innovate in authoring and delivery tools and methods.
- All service facilities, regardless of whether dealer franchised or independently operated, must invest in the necessary training and information tools to ensure technician safety, and ensure technicians are practicing the highest standards in safety compliance within their facilities. Independent Repair Facility Owners and Management additionally need to develop awareness of the service information currently provided by OEMs and industry organizations and ensure they are leveraging all available resources. Beyond those available directly from the factory and its website, here is a partial list of resources we discussed in the webinar and links to their websites:
> The National Automotive Task Force (NASTF), www.nastf.org
> The Automotive Service Association (ASA), www.asashop.org
> National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), www.ase.com
> Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), www.sae.org
> The International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN), www.iatn.net
Most automakers have formal training and development guidelines to prepare dealer technicians for perform in their role safely, swiftly and accurately. Training for independent techs is out there but is harder to find, and technicians should be willing to travel to obtain it. We urge technicians to work with local chapters of associations and make known the great demand for better access to training resources. We are finding that many OEMs are working with community colleges and other training institutions to proliferate training resources to help ensure independent repairers have access to appropriate training materials. However, as community college budgets get cut, educators in this arena look to OEMs to make a greater investment in tools and information. At the same time, OEMs must also work with industry standards bodies to develop the standards for EV and HEV components, connectors, markings, etc. as the technology evolves.
IDC MI is in the process of publishing a detailed report explaining our study results and recommendations and have several speaking engagements lined up to do the same (including the Hybrid Technology Symposium in Feb and SAE Congress in March). Again, we hope you will take time to visit the webcast replay. We'll be sharing some of the questions we received during the webinar and our responses below in the "Post a Comment" area over the coming week, but we also want to hear your opinions on vehicle electrification and its impact on technician safety. Please share your thoughts with us in our IDC Insights Community.