Maaco believes in the importance of training, and has worked to make it an integral part of the franchise’s culture. Maaco University — the company’s internal training platform — is celebrating 15 years, and Dave Gross, VP of Certification and Field Training, spoke with us about the program, how it has evolved and new changes coming to the format.
Tell us about the Maaco University and how it got its start.
Maaco University got its start more than 15 years in the form an internally managed learning management system that provided an easy way for Maaco to deploy training content, specific to the Maaco brand. Maaco University, 15 years later has morphed into something much greater, more of a learning culture. Maaco University now consists of classroom training led by corporate trainers and vendors, in addition to the Learning Management System (LMS), and partnerships with industry training programs such as ICAR. Maaco firmly believes that training is not a one and done, check the box task, but a culture that takes advantage of several different modalities and sources, understanding that not all roles or all people learn the same way.
The Maaco LMS is in continuous improvement with a team that is dedicated to ensuring that they constantly provides best in class learning ideas that are a collaboration of brand subject matter experts, vendor training and demonstrations, and third party training providers in the space of leadership and automotive Collison repair and paint.
What types and formats of training is offered to franchisees through the program?
- Classroom training
- Demonstration following instruction
- Observation of the learner in their role to provide feedback and course correct
- Learning Management System
- Weekly internal publication that shares testimonials and best practices
- Engagement and support of industry events (Fender Bender, NACE, SEMA)
- Yearly Conventions providing networking with vendors and peers
- Quarterly Market Meetings to build relationships within a designated market area
- Operations support through KPI management/ in- center visits, action planning, virtual coaching
How can new franchisees get set up in the program?
Our franchisees automatically have access to our support program and Maaco University once they join the Maaco family. They are expected to use the system immediately upon becoming a franchisee as a pre-requisite for receiving future learning opportunities. Maaco University gives us the ability to track a franchisee progress and compare them to others on the same track to make sure that the content is being effectively delivered, and ultimately retained.
Some changes have been made recently to revamp the program. What has changed and why?
Changes and improvements, have recently been made, and will continue to be made. Recent changes include adding industry experts in the learning and training arena to support our LMS and its content, along with major investments into our training facility that includes all the equipment and materials needed to drive performance and deliver a great customer experience while keeping safety in mind.
How does the University help set Maaco apart from its competitors?
Learning Management Systems are common practice and readily available with plenty of support from a wide array of vendors. Our intent is to continue to lean on software experts to create and maintain our LMS, so we can focus on content. Key characteristics that we look for consist of real-time reporting (per learning and in aggregate), gamification, integration into existing systems, ease of use, and support, to name a few. What sets us apart from the industry is our team. We have a strong team with diverse skills focused on ensuring that our franchisees and their teams are using, and benefiting from the system and its content.
Why is consistent training — like that offered through Maaco University — so important for those in the industry today?
The challenges within our industry, relative to the labor pool, are not unique to Maaco. New hires expect support and appreciate consistency. We all have expectations, and training ensures that the expectations for quality and standards are accurately delivered and achieved through process alignment. Consistency in process and standards ensure a desirable work atmosphere and quality customer experience, which is instant validation.
What industry areas do you see most in need of more training opportunities and initiatives?
The biggest challenge with training in our industry is keeping up with the vast number of new technologies being integrated into vehicles and the equipment needed to ensure a proper repair. The challenge could be defined as much as a change management opportunity as it is a training need. To allow repair vendors to get ahead of the learning curve, the partnership between OEs creating the new vehicle technologies and repair procedures must strengthen. This will allow us and other industry vendors to proactively deploy the knowledge needed to drive the necessary changes in process.