Inside Advantage – Shops stay one step ahead in the repair game with GM Training Clinics

| January 5, 2018

Though they’re located in different states, Quality Automotive in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Grahams Auto and Truck in Poynette, Wisconsin, have lots in common. They’ve both been in business for 20+ years, offer a full range of repairs, are remarkably successful and focus heavily on training. And both are big fans of GM Training Clinics.

“We’ve been attending them for as long as they’ve been around, maybe 20 years,” says Mark Sheppard, owner of Quality Automotive. “I came from a GM dealership, and the training was good,” he adds. “When we had the opportunity to get it at this shop, we jumped right on it.”

Nathan Counihan, general manager of Grahams, reports his shop has been attending the GM clinics for at least a decade. He and Sheppard intend to carry this long-standing training practice into 2018. They will continue a practice that goes hand in hand with taking part in GM training—implementing the lessons they pick up, though each shop has its own methods for bringing clinic knowledge back home.

The staff at Graham’s determines which clinics would best benefit the background of a specific technician, who then attends the session. “The technician takes notes and brings back the manual from the clinic,” explains Counihan. “During our weekly staff meeting, the technician passes on this information, and we discuss how we can use it.”

Opportunity to Trend Watch
At Quality, Sheppard and his staff attend every available clinic (when necessary, they even travel out of the area for clinics they couldn’t attend locally). Afterwards, they talk over the takeaways from the course and try to implement what they can right away.

“There have been times we’ve gone out soon after, bought the tools needed for new repairs and begun work,” says Sheppard. “It turned out we did this at just the right time because of changes with some vehicles.” With a number of course offerings, GM Training Clinics can provide shops with plenty to discuss and techniques to better service repair customers.

Recently introduced GM Training topics include:  HVAC Technology – TEHCM Programming – Automatic Transmissions: New and Updates – New Vehicle Technology – Scan Tools – Advanced Variable Valve Timing

Sheppard sees benefits with all the courses but found one on hybrids particularly valuable. “We see a fair amount of hybrids–not all GM,” he notes. “They’re all similar, the familiarity helps when repairing others.” Counihan declares the clinics, “always offer good information. It’s a way to access factory training, and also to see what’s trending.”

Ask your GM Wholesale Parts dealer if/when they will host a GM Training Clinic in your area.

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