CARQUEST Technical Institute Opens R&D Center
Dec. 11, 2015—CARQUEST Technical Institute (CTI), the customer training arm of Advance Professional Driven by CARQUEST, recently opened a new research and development center in Raleigh, N.C.
Ratchet+Wrench received a tour of the high-tech 9,000-square-foot facility, designed to serve independent shops such as TECHNET Auto Service Professionals, strategic accounts, OE manufacturers, industry groups and Advance team members. Chris Chesney, senior director of customer training for Advance Auto Parts, led the tour. He heads a staff of six at the new center, which is three times larger than any previous CTI facility.
“CTI was an essential asset that Advance wanted when making the decision to acquire CARQUEST,” Chesney says. “Since the acquisition, Advance has allowed CTI to invest in not only the [research and development center] but in human capital and systems that will enable the team to increase its position in the aftermarket as the premiere training group.”
The center, Chesney says, allows CTI to bring its development team together in one place to better control the research and development process. Previously, developers needed to reach out to someone in the field when they needed to capture an asset or retrieve data for a project.
“This new methodology will ensure we get exactly what we need while also meeting our high image and digital quality standards,” he says.
And the space will serve as the site of technician boot camps, “mentor train the trainer” events and a variety of other meetings. An array of video equipment allows CTI to record its efforts at the center and share throughout the network.
The center boasts a 50-seat primary classroom for instructor-led programs; a polished six-bay shop equipped with an arsenal of tools and equipment, including a scan-tool wall with just about every OE and aftermarket tool available; and a 20-seat hands-on classroom. Center users can also take part in repair simulations and virtual diagnosis, and the shop features a high-definition big screen to easily share vehicle readouts and other images with trainees.
“The most important result that our current and future members will gain from this new facility is content that will meet their needs when servicing their customers vehicles in a more timely manner,” Chesney says. “It will allow the CTI development team to focus their efforts on what our customers need in the way of skills and knowledge rather than on where they are going to find the assets and vehicles needed to do so. In a nutshell, efficiency and quality will improve significantly.”