RR 463: Mitch Schneider – His First Speech 35 Years Ago, Still Relevant today!
Mitch Schneider is a fourth-generation “mechanic/technician” recognized as a champion of service dealer and technician causes. Mitch is also a consultant, entrepreneur, an award-winning journalist, speaker, and author. For more than 37 years, Mitch operated Schneider’s Automotive — a successful 6-bay, family-owned and operated service facility in Simi Valley, Calif. Look for Mitch’s other episodes HERE.
Schneider is a frequent speaker at major conventions and meetings of automotive industry trade organizations, where he addresses the challenges and problems affecting the automotive service industry and has keynoted or presented for some of the nation’s most successful automotive organizations.
Mitch is also the author of Misfire: What to Do When Everything Isn’t Running on All Cylinders, an allegorical small business novel about to be published, as well as an eight-volume Automotive Service Management Series published by Cengage Learning. Look for a coming episode on this book.
Key Talking Points:
Mitch gave a speech “Give Me Your Tired and Broken Cars” as a State of the Industry address for ETI’s Fall Meeting in 1984. Thirty-five years later Mitch sees a very similar landscape in the aftermarket.
He understood the industry so well at that time. That speech started his career as an industry influencer, writer, speaker. He gave this speech 12 times that year.
Mitch asks the question: “If we wanted it fixed would we have fixed it years ago?”
Need to create own voice for the aftermarket, an organization that can speak for us
He actually started a federation of qualified technicians. It grew but became too expensive to support; nothing like we have today with social media.
He believes strongly in licensing and certifications for technicians
He strongly supports ASE
We need to get together and talk about what we can and cannot do
We do not have any best practices that are published
There is more to the profession than calling yourself a professional
We need to accept that there are different levels of performance within the industry
Data acquisition, mechanical, diagnostics
He believes many within the industry are being paid what we are worth
Independents need to learn how to attract the right talent
Right to Repair initiative polarized the industry
We can be interdependent instead of independent
There are better shops today because Mitch had influence in his writing and speaking
We need to become better communicators
Are we taking care of ourselves?
Minimize work with petrochemicals and solvents
Our industry is intensive in these areas:
We need to create a General Accepted Automotive Principles just like the account have with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
The supplier groups are strong and the manufacturers are weaker
Here are his points from that speech from 1984
Technician Shortage: Industry Graying/Shrinking from either retirement or seasoned technicians abandoning the industry to pursue other interests
Scarcity of ‘good’ mechanics/technicians
Dangers from chemical exposure to carcinogenic chemicals – Who knew?
Inadequate compensation: the person who builds the vehicle makes exponentially more than the person who keeps it running…
An unrealistic belief that someone will always be there to service, maintain or repair the vehicle
A reality that there are different and distinct skillsets for mechanics and technicians
The explosion of technology that occurred between 1978 and 1984… And, what has transpired since
An ongoing problem of who finds their way into the industry and where they finally land: what percentage come from trade schools and vocational education and how many just ‘migrate’ in.
How many come from other cultures and immigrant populations as our profession can be the door to a better life and what impact has that had and will continue to have.
If you can service, maintain or repair a late model car or truck you can quickly learn to become an HVAC technician, a plumber or electrician
Cost of tools and equipment
Disorganized and unrepresented… Taking the word ‘independent’ far too seriously
Thanks to Mitch Schneiderfor his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.
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