Volvo Tech Tool Program Aims to Attract Talent
Sept. 21, 2020—Back at the end of June, Volvo Car USA announced to its retailers about a new program: the Volvo Technician Tool Program, which provides technicians with free tools to use.
The program provides qualified Volvo dealer technicians with free and permanent access to a 72-piece tool set from Wurth Tools, reducing more than $20,000 in student debt and eliminating the need for new technicians to invest in their own tools. Retailers simply put in a request for the tool set and foot half of the bill, while Volvo takes care of the rest.
So, what led Volvo to take the plunge and invest in this initiative? Scott Doering, vice president of customer service for Volvo Car USA, says it’s meant to try and steer quality technicians to work for their brand.
“The Volvo Technician Tool Program [VTTP] addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry: the need for more technicians,” Doering said in a press release. “With this initiative, we see substantial value delivered to our retailer partners, especially given the nominal VTTP investment relative to the cost of recruiting or replacing a technician.”
Once technicians graduate from school, they accrue a significant amount of debt and, on top of that, are expected to pay for their own set of tools, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The brand wanted to find a way to mitigate this challenge for techs and build more consideration into the Volvo Car USA brand. Doering says many OEs are looking for the next best techs during the technician shortage, and they were looking for a way to stand out.
“It’s a pure retention tool,” Doering says. “It’s a way to create more loyalty to the brand and dealers.”
While these are available to any Volvo Car USA dealer, there are some small requirements to be eligible. Doering says retailers have to be up to date with their technical training, have a defined mentor program for entry-level technicians (mainly to ensure these techs are handling the equipment correctly), and have some minor requirements on how to organize and store the tools at their service center, which has to be in a custom locking cabinet installed by the retailer, who is responsible for maintaining and replacing individual pieces.
Doering says 15 to 20 percent of their dealers provide their technicians tools today, and with this program they expect more to join, especially as it becomes harder and harder to find technicians. Within the next 30 days, Doering says those who have requested to be in the program will be instilled with the tools at their shop.
“We’re investing a lot into our technicians,” Doering says. “We have a whole tool box that exists and this is just one element of that.