In the pursuit of continual enhancement of after-sales service, Hino Motors holds service skills competitions for its dealers in and outside Japan, designed to further the development of capabilities. Competitions were held in 13 countries in fiscal 2011.
Among the events, the Japan service skills competition has the longest history, with the 40th installment held on October 22, 2011. Three-person teams undertake written tests and practical skills examinations covering safe work procedures, vehicle repair skills, malfunction diagnosis, and reception desk skills. At the 40th competition, 10 companies that had won regional tournaments and two specially invited companies competed against each other, applying their skills gained through daily practice.
Participating service engineers are qualified through the Hino Motors Skills Accreditation System, which verifies expertise levels based on their scores in the competition. The system is utilized among dealers in Japan to set skill acquisition targets for employees.
This special feature focuses on two dealers in the competition: Kyushu Hino Motor Ltd., whose participation was especially meaningful as the company had competed for 40 consecutive years since the competition's commencement in 1971; and the winning company, Miyagi Hino Motor Ltd., which overcame challenges following the Great East Japan Earthquake to join the competition. The participating team members offer their impressions about winning and future goals.
Kyushu Hino Motor Ltd. is striving to enhance its after-sales service under the motto, "To be a reliable workshop."
The service skills competition gives our representatives opportunities to develop by learning from fellow competitors from other Hino dealers, and demonstrate skills gained through their daily efforts. By continually participating in the competition, our service engineers and reception-desk staff have gained valuable experience over the years, and they make sure to pass on their expertise and industrious attitude to junior employees at the workplace. This is an irreplaceable asset for the company, and it has become part of our corporate culture and tradition.
Our representatives are dedicated to upholding our record of continuous participation. As words of encouragement, I told them to not be afraid of knowing their place at the competition, to go and return humbled. I wanted them to improve their skills by understanding how they compared at the national level, without an arrogant attitude of being "big fish in a small pond." Our team in fiscal 2011 handled the pressure very well. They won the Kyushu regional preliminaries and participated at the national competition, where they won the Outstanding Performance Award.
I am confident that the level of our technical skills can help us build strong, trustworthy relations with customers. We will continue to strive toward enhancing our skills to provide exceptional service for safe, comfortable driving, and uphold our participation record in the competition.
Located in Miyagi Prefecture, which was heavily affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, Miyagi Hino Motor Ltd. was forced to shut down its Ishinomaki Branch for seven months as a result of earthquake and tsunami damage. At the same time, however, requests for repairs of vehicles damaged in the disaster increased dramatically. Through strenuous effort with assistance provided by after-sales service engineers from other dealers, the company helped with resuming the operations of customers who played a vital role in delivering daily life commodities.
Amidst these circumstances, the company's representatives decided against participating in the competition. The company president, however, was determined to have them attend, and offered words of encouragement. "Although this is a tough time, the competition is now celebrating its 40th year. We would like other Hino dealers across Japan who supported us during the disaster to see Miyagi Hino Motor do its best at the event," he remarked. "As representatives of the region devastated by the earthquake, try and bring back the top prize." Inspired by these words, the team members practiced and studied daily. Overcoming the hardships of the earthquake, they won the Excellence Award for the third time in the company's history.
―Excellence Award in the Service Engineer Category―
I am really happy to have attained the top award; when I look back at the disaster, it seems like a miracle to have stood on the winner's podium. I want to express my appreciation to everyone around the country for their support.
―Excellence Award in the Service Engineer Category―
I am grateful toward my coworkers for cheering me on. I will continue to take care at work, and aim to repair vehicles precisely and respond to customer expectations.
Although reception desk work begins from an understanding of a vehicle's operational status and requirements from the customer's standpoint, to perform this successfully requires teamwork with the service engineers. I am happy that we were highly evaluated for this and chosen for the Excellence Award. I am thankful because we could not have won without the help that everyone gave to Miyagi and the Tohoku region.