The big news out of November’s SEMA Show/Global Tire Expo wasn’t really new "news." Equally, it wasn’t just more of the same.
It was, though, perhaps the single biggest opportunity that you, your staff and your business have for a strong, growing future.
“Training, training and more training.” That was the mantra recited by incoming TIA president Larry Brandt, who has taken a refreshingly aggressive posture in assuring that the association continues to develop and create top-shelf training programs. And Brandt wants to make sure that every single tire dealer in North America – whether a member or not – takes advantage of the opportunity.
Given the number of new training initiatives unveiled at the GTE – and it was an impressive list – one could conclude that TIA does nothing but training. Even TIA officials should be forgiven for sometimes forgetting – as some regretfully do – that the non-profit association provides so much more to members and non-members alike.
While there is a ton of valuable assets TIA brings to the table, no doubt that training, training and more training will be at the top of the list. More training is a lot better.
And TIA stepped up with a lot more:
• TIA’s highly acclaimed “train-the-trainer” Certified ATS Instructor program is hitting the road with a 12-month, 28-city tour that kicks off this month in Akron/Canton, Ohio, and St. Louis, Mo. From there, the training tour stretches across the U.S – specifically visiting dealers in Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Toledo, Ohio, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Seattle, Orlando, New Orleans, Greensboro, N.C., Boston, Dallas, Richmond, Va., Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Denver, New York, Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Jacksonville, San Antonio and San Francisco.
“We are incredibly proud of the new ATS training and certification program, so it was an easy decision to embark on a national tour,” said Brandt. “This unprecedented commitment to educating the industry is just another reason why TIA is the recognized leader in technician training and certification.”
The industry saw the importance of this “unprecedented commitment,” as 21 key suppliers stepped up as year-long sponsors. These companies will help support and promote the tour with tools and equipment, and by reaching out to customers and non-customers alike in each market.
• Coming in the first quarter of 2012 will be complete Spanish-language versions of TIA’s Basic- and Certified-level Commercial Tire Service and Basic-level Earthmover Tire Service training. Recognizing that more and more Hispanic tire techs are working in truck and OTR tire service positions, TIA set its sights on delivering its comprehensive training program in a more user-friendly and effective manner.
• Speaking of CTS training, TIA has scheduled both CTS Instructor and Commercial Technician sessions this year: classes will be held in Denver Feb. 28-March 2, April 24-27 and Nov. 13-16; and at TIA’s Baltimore center March 20-23, Sept. 11-14 and Oct. 16-19.
• TIA will soon launch a Farm Tire Service program. Cut from the same expert cloth as the other programs, the FTS module is set for a 2013 launch and will address the proper procedures for servicing agricultural, construction and skid-steer tire and wheel assemblies, in addition to the safety guidelines for operating articulating boom trucks and liquid ballast pumps.
• Speaking of stepping up, the real gem among TIA’s training enhancements is the creation of the TIA On-Line University, a digital training center that will deliver all six of TIA’s Basic-level training programs – Automotive, Basic and Advanced TPMS, Commercial, Farm and Earthmover. Soon tire dealers will get the kind of training they want, the kind that their techs need, without ever having to leave home. No more excuses, no more struggling to train employees. Any dealer of any size will now be able to begin thoroughly educating new hires from day one.
The University, which will formally be launched later this year, was a project of particular interest to outgoing TIA president Mike Berra Jr. and the culmination of years of planning and behind-the-scenes work.
“By developing the TIA On-Line University, large companies can control costs with annual subscriptions, while smaller companies can utilize the pay-per-view approach and purchase the training for individuals as they need it,” said Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training. “The bonus is that all of our members can take advantage of the electronic reporting functions and the liability protection that it provides.”
With all of these important training tools laid before you – even coming to your desk – what excuse do you have not to take advantage of the opportunity?
There really isn’t one, unless you think it’s better to save a few dollars, do things the “way we always have” and hope nothing bad happens.
Because nothing bad ever, ever happens. Ever.