From the CEO - July - 2016

The Opportunities Around Us

The solution to a problem as well as new opportunities are all around us but too often they don’t fit the image we expect or we’re so focused on what we deem as the right solution that we miss them altogether. Here’s a story most everyone has heard but it’s a great example for this topic. There are a lot of variations to the story so I’ll just offer a brief example. Its call: God Will Save Me.

A news alert goes out warning people of a flood warning and that the people in town should evacuate. A man is at his home watching the rain poor down when his neighbor drives up. The neighbor says “It’s time to evacuate, friend. I’ve got room in my car. Jump in.” The man says “No, I have faith in God and he will save me.”

As the storm continues the water has now flooded the first floor of the man’s house. Along comes another neighbor in a canoe. “I’ve got room for you in my canoe. Jump in.” The man says “No, God will save me.”

As the water continues to rise the man retreats to the second floor. Along comes a police officer in a motor boat. “Get in, now! The water is rising fast!” The man says “I have faith that God will save me. Go help someone else.”

Now the man’s on the roof. Everyone else in town has evacuated. Along comes a helicopter searching for anyone stranded by the flood. They spot the man on the roof and go in for the rescue. They say to the man “It’s a good thing we found you. Get in!” Once again the man say “No! God will save me. Thank you but I don’t need any help.”

Right about then, the house collapses and the man is washed away and drowns. Now in heaven, the man is standing before God and asks “I had faith that you would save me. Why did you let me drown?”

God replies “I gave you fair warning, sent a car, then canoe and then a motor boat. After that I sent you a helicopter. What more did you expect?”

You see, the man expected God to intercede and for the water to recede. That was the only solution he would accept for his problem.

Think about some of the problems we’ve seen over the years in this industry: we can start with the introduction of front-wheel-drive cars. Then we saw the consolidation of parts companies, the introduction of remains, 0% financing for new cars, transmissions that last 200,000 miles, the 100,000 mile dealer warranty and internet shoppers, to name a few. With each of these there were shop owners that “retreated to the roof” while others found a way to overcome these problems.

Today, the greatest challenge we face as an industry is finding technicians to do the work: Rebuilder, R&R techs, diagnosticians, they’re all in demand and it seems that they’re nowhere to be found.

The interesting thing though, is that as we’ve opened ourselves up to solutions for this, it seems like they’re just appearing from nowhere. Contacts with schools, an understanding of the next generation of techs, creating a program and syllabus, online training and now…a virtual-training platform that promises a modern way of training the next generation of technicians.

Just like every hurdle we’ve faced in this industry the solutions come easier when we’re open to new ideas. Here at ATRA we’re not waiting for the water to recede, and neither should you. We have some great ideas that we’ll share in the months ahead and reveal at this year’s Powertrain Expo. See you there!