Heavy-duty: North American Trailer Dealers Association announces NADTA 2023 schedule, extended expo hours
Believe it or not, the trucking industry has actually held in-person events where you could interact face-to-face. It’s been a long-time coming, but as the trucking industry gets back to working in ways that we’ve longed for, none of us—from fleet managers and truck drivers to OEMs, suppliers and dealers—are doing the job the same way we did two years ago. The industry has developed new resources and connected in innovative ways. Those tools will continue to see use as we come together.
“A training manager can only be in one location and can only teach a certain number of people,” said Jeff Sass, vice president of marketing, Hendrickson. “People like to learn in different ways. Some like to be in a live classroom, some learn by listening, some learn by reading, some learn by watching a video. We are going to make sure we have all of those available in our portfolio.”
For its part, Hendrickson has both its Service Academy and Dealer Sales Academy—online training resources that allow users to take courses related to the most up-to-date Hendrickson information, guiding technicians through proper maintenance and repair processes in the Service Academy and Dealer Sales Academy users through a deeper understanding of Hendrickson suspension components and applications. Hendrickson was a head of the virtual training game, having launched its Service Academy in 2017. The Dealer Sales Academy grew out of those efforts to serve product knowledge needs. The impetus for the academies is still extremely relevant.
“This really began with the advent of YouTube,” Sass said. “We started in 2017 because our service director had found a YouTube video that showed how to fix one of our components, and it was a 100% wrong. He came to the marketing department and he said, ‘We’ve got to nip this in the bud.’”
The Hendrickson team got to work building content that would battle service misinformation found online. The Service Academy offers video-based maintenance and repair procedures for many of Hendrickson’s suspensions and components. Educational pods are designed for patrons that want to learn on their own time and at their own pace which accommodate various learning styles. The videos are between three and 10 minutes and can be viewed at any time. Technical literature is also available for downloading, printing or to be read at your own leisure. Upon successful completion of a course, which includes a brief test, a certificate will be provided with a printable option.
Sass noted that to date, the Hendrickson Service Academy has more than 5,000 users with more than 7,500 complete courses, but also said that the number of uncompleted courses are nearly double that number.
“When they aren’t completed, it’s because the technician found the answer, but didn’t finish the course,” he explained. “So it’s still serving its purpose.”
When it comes to the Dealer Sales Academy, videos, assessments and related resources help develop an understand the features and benefits, and specifications of Hendrickson products to help guide their customers in making the optimum ride solution choice. This is doubly important as Hendrickson has rolled out new suspensions sporting the latest technology, most notably:
• HAULMAAX EX – Heavy-duty rubber suspension
• ULTIMAAX – Advanced severe-duty rubber suspension
• SOFTEK NXT – Integrated monoleaf suspension and steer axle system
• STEERTEK NXT – Fabricated front steer axle
The training doesn’t stop there. Additional trucks suspensions, steer axles, trailer products, auxiliary lift axles, components and other brands of Hendrickson, including W&C and Motor Wheel, will continue to be developed and made available.
“We have 10 courses available and have plans for seven more this year,” Sass shared. “Our goal is to have 1,000 completed Dealer Sales Academy courses by the end of the year—and none of those are Hendrickson people. We’re talking about dealer salespeople.”
Dealer salespeople will take a test at the end of each module and, after passing, will receive a certificate of completion.