TRAINING BOOST FOR SCANIA TECHS
With all the hi-tech jiggery-pokery that’s been added to Scania’s new R&S series models, there’s a similar amount appearing in the ‘back room boy’s’ departments. We take a look at the manufacturer’s upgraded training centre at Loughborough. Ian Norwell reports.
If you’re a technician in a truck dealer, any brand, you’ll know that laptops and diagnostic gear are as much a way of life as the spanners and the grease.
Scania is reaping service data from over 220,000 of its trucks worldwide and the number grows by the day.
That mountain of statistics gets crunched into intelligence that can be used to tailor service schedules and even pre-empt failures at service time.
Among the mundane streams of info, there are the nuggets that pop up that will help truck operators in some distant part of the globe to hopefully not suffer the same breakdown.
The upgraded new facilities at the Loughborough training and technical support centre were inaugurated by Hans Bedman, Scania’s head of field quality. He told CV Driver: “We only use technology where there is a clear contribution to efficiency,” adding, “The download data we now have from field and customer vehicles gives us the ability to remotely diagnose and rectify issues, on occasion without even attending the scene.”
The added grit at the training operation does not come in the shape of extra bays, pits or workshop kit. It’s all been spooned into a new comms centre that looks like a CIA black ops room.
There are screens everywhere with live jobs in progress, wireless comms and conference videos to remote global sites.
It’s all the other side of the ‘connectivity‘ we keep hearing about. The training centre shares premises with the tech support team and to ensure a round-the-clock availability, there are global technical support centres in Sweden (no surprise) Brazil and Hong Kong – and there’s a fourth one on the way in Dubai.
Urgent technical calls can be handled by whichever one is open at the time. Useful if you’ve broken down in the small hours when you don’t want a voicemail. We were struck by the environment there and it’s obvious that a career as a technician today is not what being “on the spanners” used to be like.
Sure, you’ll get your share of brake re-lining and other mucky jobs to do, but with routine services stretching out to ever-longer mileages, the diagnostics and intelligent work with IT is taking centre stage. I write as the father of a daughter who took on an apprenticeship with VW at barely 16 years of age, and after qualifying, she hasn’t looked back.
All the technicians from Scania’s UK dealers have been through the Loughborough training centre in recent months to get acquainted with the new R and S series trucks.
It’s been a busy time. From their 90 UK dealer workshops, 1,257 technicians all made their way through, prior to market launch. You can add to that group 216 master technicians and 27 escalation techs and, outside the truck operations, there are buses (self-loading freight) and industrial engines.
Even though the annual sales are roughly 7,000 trucks, 300 buses and coaches and 800 industrial engines, truck product only accounts for around 50% of the work.
Reaching a truck or bus has to be easier than dragging through to a quarry or mine in search of a stone-crusher with a Scania engine on board.
So it’s all heading towards less grease and wrenches, and more laptops and smartphones. Sounds like my sort of work.