Publisher's Statement - February 2013
Increasing volume of information impacts tool and equipment decisions
As the volume of vehicle service information increases, seemingly without end, the difficulties experienced by tool manufacturers to incorporate the information in a timely, useful, and efficient way is negatively impacted. By the time new tools reach the aftermarket, the sum total of the delays and difficulties manifest themselves in the service bay in the form of additional cost, service accuracy, and inefficiencies.
Achieving service readiness for tools and equipment in the dealership service bays is a challenge being met by the automakers, OE suppliers and tool manufacturers but, as word has it, with increasing difficulty. Adding aftermarket needs to the challenge remains a secondary, complex, but still important concern.
Although OEM scan tools and information are available, the process by which it arrives is often incomplete with key data missing. When aftermarket service operations receive scan tools “de-contented” to niche repair or with content removed for proprietary or security reasons, certain types of repair work often cannot be completed. Many scan tools, too, are not compatible to previous generations.
As the volume of diagnostic repair information continues to increase, the need for centralized disbursement of the information, pre-planning, and industry collaboration will be needed. Industry collaboration leading to centralized information warehousing and disbursement may well be the next step and it is really overdue. Following the agreement that resulted in the Massachusetts Right to Repair law late last year, the continuing work and significant accomplishments of the Equipment and Tool Institute (ETI), and now an expanding, reorganization of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) to reflect a more technical make-up, the wheels are set in motion.
Parts & People applauds the recent election of Charlie Gorman, CEO of ETI, to be the interim chairman of NASTF for 2013. Gorman is long familiar with NASTF, having been present and valuable during points of contention and agreement in NASTF discussions over the years. His leadership and broad industry perspective will be invaluable to the board as it launches a Technician Outreach initiative and formalizes the management of the valuable NASTF Vehicle Security Professional Registry at its spring meeting, March 8, during the Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo in Overland Park, Kan.
“NASTF plays a unique role in the automotive industry as a contact point between independent technicians and service support executives inside each of the OEMs,” said Skip Potter, recently appointed executive director of NASTF. Mark Saxonberg (Toyota), Kelly Geist (Subaru), and Bob Stewart (GM) are the early confirmations for OEM participation. We anticipate discussion regarding scan tool information and eventual aftermarket ease and efficiency of use at the meeting.
Certified lift inspection
The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) persevered and its new Lift Inspector Certification Program recently launched at SEMA. The ALI program was created to provide third-party qualification and certification of vehicle lift inspectors to properly inspect vehicle lifts in accordance with ANSI standards and OSHA general duties. It is the only such program in North America that independently tests and certifies vehicle inspectors.
Many of us have seen the damage and possible dangers that can result from an uninspected, unmaintained lift. It’s a program worth support and a service in which shops should partake. The first group of ALI Certified Lift Inspectors will be announced May 15.