Ask any tire dealer whether employee training is important and most likely they will answer with a resounding yes!
Then ask them whether they offer ongoing training to their employees and the response may be more mixed. Some do and some don't.
But that may be changing as more and more tire dealers are coming to recognize that training their employees is one of the keys to success in the competitive, fast-changing and increasingly challenging tire and service business.
It is one of the reasons we think many smaller tire dealerships are likely to thrive in 2016. Their owners get it.
These dealers have come to understand that knowledgeable, sharp employees are required to survive and thrive.
No longer can they get by on the mentality that this is the way we've always done it. Welcome to the brave, new world.
In today's tire and auto service environment, tire dealerships must be as business-savvy, customer-service friendly, technologically sophisticated and data-driven as the best tire retail and service outlets out there.
What's encouraging is to hear how some dealers are heeding this message.
In Tire Business' recent 2016 forecast issue, the owners of two small independent tire dealerships were asked about their plans for the new year. Not surprisingly, training their employees was a significant part of their plans.
Bobby Cutchins II, owner of the two-outlet Bobby's Tires & Auto Care in Franklin, Va., said he wants to be more aggressive and creative in advertising and marketing. He said he thinks the future of the automotive industry is now and you can't sit still anymore.
His more aggressiveness approach includes most likely bringing in someone to work in-house to train people in our own stores, he said.
The reason is that as independents today, moving forward, you've got to take action to make sure your people are the best they can be, Mr. Cutchins II noted.
Another tire dealer, Bud Luppino, owner of Bud's Tire & Wheel in Riverside, Calif., also will invest in training in 2016.
He said he plans to take advantage of Michelin Alliance training programs available through American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc., sending his salesmen and managers to the training throughout the year.
He also plans to tap into training offered by the Tire Industry Association as well as take advantage of the training materials library offered online by the Tire Pros marketing organization to which he belongs.
Historically, independent tire dealers have been able to adapt to changing business environments. In today's retail tire world that means more training for all employeesa move many tire dealerships are smartly starting to embrace.