During a presentation at the annual convention of the Service Specialists Association in Washington, D.C., Bill Wade of Wade&Partners stressed the importance of people in affecting change in the next three years as well as the role of technology
in the heavy-duty parts and service industry.

Wade outlined some of the service deterrents for heavy-duty distributors, including the need to avoid upsetting shop customers; the lack of service knowledgeable management; the lack of technicians; and the belief in group shop affiliate programs.

During his discussion, Wade presented some statistics on the importance of people to the heavy-duty aftermarket industry. According to an Industrial Distribution magazine survey, 82 percent view people as most critical to their ability to drive change in the next three years. However, U.S. Department of Labor statistics are not as encouraging:

* 650,000 diesel techs employed
* 250,000 more needed by 2014
* 3,500 new grads yearly (out of 35,000 grads)
* Recessions don't stop aging

Wade also touched on trends in technology that affect service. He specifically focused on near-term developments in technology, including hybrids; idle-off/emissions systems; alternative fuels; high voltage electronics; and brake/suspension/electronics interface. The increasing importance of the broadening government/shop interface also was highlighted.

For the complete presentation, visit www.truckservice.org.