Editor’s note: Repairer Driven News regularly features pieces by prolific national columnist Gene Marks. While despite not being directly related to collision repair, they should still prove valuable…
Just three years shy of its 30th birthday, the Automotive Management Institute announced last week a major overhaul that turned a year of feedback into the “next generation of AMi.”
The organization unveiled a format which offers a handful of new front office and management tracks and more than 100 online courses — short enough to be done on a slow day, AMi President Jeff Peevy told Collision Repair magazine Monday. It also revamped its website and offers resources like a directory of 98 training providers and a method of discovering one’s learning style.
“The launch of the ‘next generation of AMi,’ represents a significate milestone for our industry’s owners and managers,” AMi Board Chairwoman Sheri Hamilton said in a statement. “Individuals can complete coursework, take post-course exams, view and print transcripts, view completed and suggested courses, and enroll in online courses … all in addition to receiving AMi credit from classroom training industrywide.”
New “majors” for staff include professional designations and customer service certificates for the positions of office manager, general manager and master general manager.
“The new AMi represents over a year of soliciting, organizing, and prioritizing industry feedback to ensure we offer the most relevant professional designations, career paths and overall management educational support possible,” Peevy said in a statement June 20. “For example, we heard clearly from business owners and managers the need to offer career paths for their front office staff.”
The revamped classes, certifications/designations and resources are available to both collision and mechanical repairers. Some courses are industry-specific, such as separate profitability offerings for mechanical/service and collision repair shops, while others are universal to both fields. (One of our favorites was the 10-minute, 0.25-credit leadership course titled “People are wasting time online.” Of course, if they’re on Repairer Driven News, it’s never a waste.)
Here’s a few other highlights off the robust online catalog, which would apply to customer-facing or management-level employees. Online teachers include industry notables like Mike Anderson (Collision Advice), Mark Claypool (Optima Worldwide), Michael Graham (AutoRisk), Frank LaViola (Body Shop Solutions), Jeremy O’Neal (AdvisorFix), Frank Terlep (eMarketing Sherpas).
- “Essential Telephone Skills,” 1 credit, 60 minutes
- “KPI Basics-Mechanical,” 1 credit, 45 minutes, and “KPI Basics-Collision,” 1 credit, 45 minutes
- “Generation Clash,” 0.25 credits, 10 minutes
- “How to handle Irate Customers,” 1 credit, 3o minutes
- “Parts Management-Mechanical,” 1 credit, 30 minutes, and “Parts Management-Collision,” 1 credit, 45 minutes.
“Our new core belief is, Knowledge equals competitiveness; learning then is the only source of a sustainable, competitive advantage,” Peevy said in a statement.
Besides the obvious benefit of learning to do a job better, the training might also help retain workers by providing a means for advancement within the company, according to AMi.
“Each level of recognition is a step toward the next level, building a clear professional development pathway and will provide the necessary training to improve operational performance,” the organization wrote in its news release.
“There is a new generation coming. If they have a good work ethic, but maybe they have come straight out of high school, if you feel it’s worth investing, start them working toward the customer service for collision repair,” Peevy told Collision Repair magazine, suggesting the prospect of advancement could help an independent shop retain a good worker. (The same logic would probably work for a chain, too.)
Peevy told Collision Repair magazine that AMi risked drifting into insignificance if it didn’t undergo such a change.
“They were still an organization. They had 8,400 students registered a year. But that wasn’t near what it should be. The company didn’t continue to invest in infrastructure. They didn’t have any online courses, no advertising, no trade shows,” Peevy said. “… For the last two months I have been doing non-stop presentations, to try and get some engagement with the industry,” said Peevy. “I find there are two types of people out there. One is the generation of people who knew AMi, but now they don’t. They haven’t heard from us in years. They don’t know who we are now. And then there are people who haven’t heard of us.”
Not anymore, he told the magazine.
“It’s been an amazing week since we launched,” Peevy told Collision Repair. We tried to have a soft launch, but when we put out the press release, we’ve had an amazing response since the middle of the week. We’ve had way more people signing up and taking courses than we thought.”
Collision Repair, June 27, 2016
Automotive Management Institute, June 20, 2016