Thinking Outside the Toolbox

What tools do well-equipped, well-trained techs need?

To Hibler, combining hands-on and knowledge-based training in the classroom or on the Web is excellent for the early-career technician or for those interested in career development.

"We'd really like to have them think more about their own personal development," Hibler says. "But we also want upcoming technicians to understand that they should come in to this work environment with a desire for self-learning."

Hibler also believes mental preparation is equally important as having the physical tools readily available to get the job done.

"We look for and expect technicians who are career-minded to be willing to put forth some effort from a self-led mode as well," Hibler says, adding that additional time for studying and a training plan will help guide and develop new technicians.

He explains that Ryder's TOPS plan, which stands for "Train Our People Systematically", is a program designed to identify specific hands-on and skill-based training needs for employees on a yearly basis.

"In our world, the first thing any technician, regardless for whom they work, needs to be is exposed to a variety of vehicles," Hibler says, and thinks that gaining knowledge about many vehicles helps to make a technician well-rounded. At Ryder, he says the learning curve lies within the variety of work performed on different makes and models of trucks in a relatively short time.

It takes time for technicians to gain experience for personal growth, development and proficiency. According to Hibler, it takes approximately eighteen months to two years to get up to speed.

"It's not an overnight process," he says.


Success is defined differently for every heavy-duty technician and is as individual as the job itself. Technicians who accept changes in technology already establish themselves as leaders in the industry. They use hands-on experience, build a specialized knowledge-base, share useful information and work more intelligently.

Whether establishing a new career or further developing an existing one, it takes time for technicians to acquire skills, no matter what level. Technology, training and knowledge will continue to influence the heavy duty technician, allowing them to become well-equipped and well-trained experts in their field.

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