Kohrs Truck & Auto Repair general manager values EXCEL conference and training
O’Fallon, Mo.—The technicians at Kohrs Truck & Auto Repair have to stay on top of their game because every day is a new challenge, General Manager Hadley Nadler said.
The shop specializes in servicing light-duty trucks, but on any given day you could find anything from a small Volkswagen to a fire engine to a tractor trailer sitting in one of the 14 bays there, he said.
“Initially we thought we were going to be doing over-the-road tractor-trailer repairs,” Nadler said. “It turned out to be quite the opposite. Almost 95 percent of our repairs are repeat customers, local commercial and public fleets.”
To keep with the latest technology and techniques, Nadler said he sends his technicians to training classes at the EXCEL Trade Show & Training Conference each year. EXCEL is organized by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Missouri (AASP-MO) and is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The event is scheduled between Sept. 16 and 18 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Mo.
“I highly-recommend it to anybody in the repair industry,” Nadler said. “One thing about being AASP-MO, besides just the EXCEL conference, is you always have a fellow comrade you can make a phone call to that can maybe dig you out of a hole when you can’t figure something out.”
The business is owned by Harold and Sandy Kohrs, who opened the shop in 1981. There are 12 technicians and a total of 19 employees, Nadler said. The shop joined AASP-MO in the mid-1980s, he said, and has been sending technicians to EXCEL training ever since.
“We have several techs that are master car and master truck technicians; some are A1 certified in emissions.” Nadler said. “All of them carry some sort of ASE certifications.”
Nadler said Kohrs Truck & Auto Repair does a lot of work for local business fleets, so the faster the truck is back on the road, the more money their customer can make. Having highly trained technicians is very important to keep his customers happy, Nadler said.
“If they take a class at EXCEL and they only bring one thing back to the shop that will help us diagnose a problem it is well worth the expense of sending them,” he said. “Just one problem where we can diagnose it in a timely manner can make a customer happy.”
This year Nadler will be sending three of his 12 techs to take three classes, including a class on light-duty diesel truck repairs.
“We do a tremendous amount of light-duty diesel truck repairs, so this is kind of out bread and butter,” Nadler said.
The class is called “Dodge Cummins 6.7 Diesel and Diesel Particulate CATS” and will be taught by Luis Ruiz, an instructor and hotline technician for Mechanic’s Education Association (MEA) in Maplewood, NJ.
Nadler will be taking a shop management class called “How to Make Change Stick.” The management classes help Nadler stay on top of the latest advice for improving shop performance, he said. He chose to take that specific class because change is a constant factor in the industry.
“Sometimes it’s challenging keeping employees in line because changes have to be made weekly, monthly, and annually to keep up with the economics and with the customer’s expectations,” Nadler said.
The business class will teach methods of making effective change and will be taught by Rick White, a managing member of One Eighty Business Solutions.
Nadler said that the training and classes are not the only reason to attend EXCEL. “You can almost learn as much at the trade show as you can from the training,” he said.
“They have lots of products over there and lots of new equipment, many things you can look at and see with hands-on demonstrations. The trade show is everything that is new in the industry. It’s a very good show they put on.”
Some of the vendors that will be at EXCEL include Hunter Engineering, AllData, BG Services, Standard Motor Products, CARQUEST, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and S&S Automotive.
Paul Stock, AAM, of Stock’s Underhood Specialists in Belleville, Ill., will receive the AASP-MO Outstanding Member of the Year Award. The keynote speaker will be Gary Smith from BG Services and Mike Anderson from CollisionAdvice.com will be teaching two collision-specific shop management classes.