What if you could have your technicians attend a diagnostic clinic hosted by a Ph.D.? Bosch and Barron Service Parts, a NAPA jobber with 17 stores in West Texas is doing just that. Duane (Doc) Watson, Ph.D.is a Bosch Field Service Technical Trainer and is also instructor at the West Texas clinics. The communications skills acquired by Watson in pursuit of his advanced degree allow him to tailor his training to the "chemistry" of each individual class.
Bosch supplies the expertise, and the Barron team, working with NAPA Tool and Equipment District Sales Manager Dan Shea, sponsors, plans, and coordinates the clinics, which began in 2011. The technical clinics run three to four hours, in the evening in March and April at various locations in Barron's service area. Many are done at technical schools near the local NAPA stores. Clinics are scheduled a month before Barron's 17 traveling tool and equipment trade shows, one for each of their stores.
"The clinics cover current subjects including misfire diagnostics, scope analysis, J2534 programming, and air conditioning developments including new hybrid technology. No two clinics are the same," said John Thomson, Regional Sales Manager, Bosch Diagnostics Business Unit. "Doc Watson is excellent at adapting to the crowd and he, the Barron team, and Bosch sales representatives do a great job working together to make these clinics informative and fun for the attendees."
Watson and Bosch hold these diagnostic seminars in partnership with NAPA stores throughout Bosch's southeast region, from Texas to Florida, throughout the year. The local NAPA stores promote the seminars, and Bosch provides each location a customizable flyer in advance based on their locations, costs, and other factors. Their sales team hands out the flyers, makes calls to prospective attendees, and promotes the seminars about six weeks in advance.
Any technician wishing to attend one of the seminars should contact their local NAPA parts store, Thomson said.
"At the clinics we spend quite a bit of time covering Mode 6, what it really is, and how to use it to diagnose Ford misfires with no check engine light, as well as other faults that may be difficult to diagnose. We teach them where to find the Mode 6 information for free and how to apply it. If they thought they knew Mode 6 before the clinic, our training usually opens some eyes to what they didn't know," Doc Watson said. "We also address basic ignition scope and amp ramping techniques, and discuss changes in automotive A/C systems and what the J2788 standard means to the industry and to them as technicians."
"With the world increasingly going green, we have developed a new class for 2012 on hybrid maintenance," adds Watson. "Many shops are missing business because they don't understand the anatomy of hybrid vehicle technology and how to take the scare out of all that electricity. I try to teach them the correct safety procedures and basic guidelines to follow with regard to what they can service in their shops, starting the next day."
"Finally, we discuss ever-changing automotive technology and how J2534 plays a role in it. I try to get them to understand that it takes both equipment and monetary expenses so that they can make an educated decision as to whether they should move their shops into the 21st century of automotive repair," Watson said.
"It takes a team effort to pull off this many clinics successfully in such a short time including travel between events. Anyone can attend, and Bosch makes these clinics available to any of our sales partners who can organize the events," said Thomson. "In this case, the NAPA Barron team does a great job promoting and following through on these events, and provides great locations and quality dinners for the attendees. We partner with Barron toward a door prize, usually a scan tool package at the end of the three weeks."
The combination of Bosch expertise and the planning and coordination from organizations such as NAPA's Barron Service Parts works well to provide much-needed current technical information to technicians, Thomson indicated.