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Wed October 04, 2017 - Midwest Edition #20
Owners of Volvo Equipment from as far west as St. Louis, Mo., on through Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania recognize and appreciate the fact that Rudd Equipment Company is dedicated to delivering excellent service to its customers. In fact, the service department is Rudd Equipment Company's largest, based on employee numbers. The distinction has not come without a significant investment and a focused effort. The company's Louisville, Ky., facility is not only the site of Rudd Equipment Company's headquarters, it also is the location of the dealership's technical training center. The technical training center is housed within a standalone structure sharing space with the company's call center and warranty center.
A primary benefit of having the three service related departments under one roof is a significant increase in efficiency and communication when coordinating interdepartmental operations. The majority of the building, however, is devoted to the technical training center, which includes a conference room equipped with an interactive presentation board for classroom sessions and a full service bay outfitted with the latest in diagnostic testing and service equipment. Overseen by Daren Cobbum, Rudd Equipment's vice president of service operations, the technical training center is staffed by trainers Dave Goins and Bradley Kinser with support from Steven Meyer, administration telematics, and Vicki Duncan, administrative assistant, who handles logistics and course enrollment.
Reflecting on Rudd Equipment Company's approach toward training technicians, Bradley Kinser, said, “Product knowledge is what separates a parts changer from a skilled service technician.”
He said the company's view was best summed up by Bill Maggard, former Rudd Equipment Company president. “The only thing more expensive than training technicians is not training them.”
Rudd Equipment Company conducts 36 classes a year, primarily at the training facility but also at the company's branches. Attended by Rudd Equipment Company's technicians from all of the dealership's locations, the three-day training courses are designed to sharpen their skills and keep them informed and trained on new equipment technologies.
Rudd Equipment Company's customers are not alone in recognizing the dealership's emphasis on technical training; Volvo recently selected Rudd's technical training center as the site for a first-of-its-kind dealer location Step 2 Training session. Ordinarily, Volvo conducts training for its United States dealers at the company's Americas headquarters in Shippensburg, Pa.
As Jim Hemmings, Volvo technical training manager, Volvo CE North America, sees it, “Rudd Equipment Company maintains extremely high standards with regards to their technicians and training. In September 2016 Rudd Equipment Company won the Volvo Masters Cup, awarded to the most skilled technicians participating in Volvo's Global Masters competition, which is conducted on a bi-annual basis. This year's competition attracted 4,800 participants from Volvo's worldwide dealer network. Rudd Equipment Company technicians were also the runners up in the previous competition held in 2014.
“Volvo normally conducts six Step 2 Training sessions each year at the Volvo's Shippensburg, Pa., facility. At our facility we have all the resources and access to equipment needed for these courses and, with the Rudd Equipment Company session being a first, we were confident that their facility and available machines would provide an excellent learning environment for the technicians. The course required that Volvo EC300E, EC350E and ECR235E excavators were on site and available for the technicians to work on throughout the three-day course. Although training on the E Series which is the latest in the Volvo excavator lineup, the diagnostic procedures taught in the Step 2 Training course are applicable to the full range of Volvo excavators.”
According to Kinser, everyone in the department was honored that Rudd was selected for Volvo's first dealership located Excavator Step 2 training session, and they welcomed the opportunity to serve as host to technicians from Volvo's other U.S. dealerships, including Arnold Machinery Company technicians from Phoenix, Ariz., and Hugg & Hall technicians who came in from Louisiana and Arkansas for the training session.
Kinser outlined the Step 2 Training as an advanced level course for level 2 technicians. It's designed to increase their proficiency at analyzing a wide variety of service issues while applying Volvo's core principles of safety, quality and environmental care. The course encourages technicians to employ all available resources at their disposal, including Volvo's software diagnostics to quickly identify and resolve service issues to minimize downtime for their customers.
“We're after precision in the diagnostic process,” said Kinser. “While replacing a pump may get a machine back on the job, the customer will be much happier if changing out an inexpensive seal accomplishes the same result.”
Volvo Factory Service Trainer, Chol-Hui Moon, came in from the company's Shippensburg facility to conduct the Step 2 training session at Rudd. Over the three-day course, with the assistance of Kinser, Moon essentially sabotaged the excavators, introducing a variety of faults for the technicians to diagnose and resolve. Splitting off into teams, the technicians first developed a trouble shooting strategy, then determined the problem and ultimately decided on the most effective solution. With the task completed, the technicians gathered back in the classroom to discuss their conclusions with Moon providing additional insights regarding the specific issues.
Overall, six bugs, including electrical problems, engine problems and hydraulic problems were introduced to the machines each day.
Ultimately, both Moon and Kinser agreed that the entire focus is on getting the customer's equipment up and running as quickly as possible.
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