Volunteering to work on SuperTech is a big commitment, no doubt about it. But every year, more and more industry professionals sign up to volunteer as skill station chairs and judges, which means that every year more and more fleets and manufacturers give their employees the time to attend SuperTech committee meetings, and to travel to the event itself. What do these individuals and companies get out of their willingness to support SuperTech?
Tire & Wheel Chairman
“I started off in this business changing oil, changing tires, when I was right out of high school, and I worked my way through school and to where I am today. But I’m not going to be here forever; somebody’s going to have to take my place. So, I look at this as an opportunity to develop the next generation of maintenance managers.
“Today’s technicians are more ‘computerized’ and less ‘hands-on.’ So what I focus on in my area is ‘hands-on’ skills that will be needed currently and in the future. It doesn’t matter what happens with the 2010 engines; trucks are still going to need 18 tires that need to be installed, that need to run down the road straight, that are going to encounter wear—none of that’s going to change. That’s where I’ve focused my part of the competition.
“I always learn, and I always talk to the competitors. Some of the competitors are 20 years old, some are 30, some are 40, and you learn different ways to get the same point across. Some of them are very focused, some of them look at it as a job, but some of them look at it as, ‘How can I get better?’
“Another thing I see happening—and I try to promote this—is the competitors are starting to develop their networks; their networks of help. That’s something that you have to acquire over years, and I encourage the competitors to talk to people. They’re not expected to know everything, but they probably know somebody that knows the answer, so don’t feel bad about asking!
“Bridgestone is a sponsoring company, but they’re also a participating company in the TMC mission. The Professional Technician Development Committee (PTDC) brings together the OEs, the aftermarket suppliers and the fleets to better understand how a product is used and how it reacts, how it wears, and how it satisfies the end-user. SuperTech gives us the ‘hands-on’ end of that. It doesn’t matter how many tests you run on a product; when it gets out there in the field in everybody’s hands, that’s when you’re going to find out how a product actually reacts.
“It’s a learning experience for everyone, at all levels. My VP is very engaged in SuperTech, because it’s a huge flow of information, as long as we keep those lines of information open.”
Wheel End Chairman
“I wanted to become more involved with TMC and the industry in general. I thought that the SuperTech program would be a great way to do this. Many things that I do in my job with Consolidated Metco overlap the things I have been able to do to support the SuperTech program.
“Since the beginning of the SuperTech program I have been involved with numerous state and fleet maintenance competitions, as well as the annual TMC SuperTech competition. This has enabled me to watch hundreds of technicians perform a variety of tasks related to our company’s products.
“As you watch technicians work, you start to see the differences in the way they each approach the same job. At the beginning of each competition I give them all the same instructions: Identify the task, obtain the proper work instructions, and complete the task based on those written instructions. Many technicians are able to quickly find the proper work instructions and complete the task based on those instructions. Others seem to struggle with the documentation. This has caused me to look at the way our company presents our service information. In some cases, we have not done a good job of providing user-friendly documentation. We continue to evolve our documentation in an effort to make it as accurate and as easy to use as possible.