Since the Great Depression of ’09 happened, I have a lot of free time at work. Some ways to kill that time, in time honored mechanics fashion, is to play cards, drink beer, or pitch pennies against the wall. Or you could catch up on your training, which I opted for since I don’t drink anymore.
I noticed that GM is going through another training metamorphosis. Back in the 80’s the American car manufacturers were contemplating how to reduce the amount of money that mechanics made. I guess this was because they didn’t want to pay us so much for warranty work, which they don’t pay much for anyway. They’re big idea back then was to hire some experts, and make them available to mechanics for assistance if they got bogged down in some technical problem. This morphed into (in GM’s case) the Technical Assistance Center or TAC.
The idea was simple. You could hire a bunch of minimum wage guys and turn them loose on customers cars, and if they needed help it was just a phone call away. Needless to say, this didn’t work. You can see how good guys with no experience are by how many motors get lunched that just got their oil changed at well known cheap oil change places. And since cars got more complicated, they can’t even get rid of the TAC center now. They need every brain they can get their hands on to fix modern automobile systems.
It came home to roost in the preamble to the latest GM training guide. They don’t want mechanics to follow a repair procedure by rote anymore… they want them to think outside the box, use their own initiative, get down and dirty and figure the problem out.
This is what Americans have traditionally done best, and have always done, and it is about time GM and the other American car manufacturers acknowledged it.