Following the foundation of Toyota Material Handling Italy in 2010, technicians had different levels of technical knowledge. “Our organisation had therefore decided to implement STEP (Service Technician Education Programme) to start mapping this knowledge. With this overview in mind, we were able to set up a first framework for the training aiming at closing the knowledge gaps and improving the service operations’ efficiency,” says Francesco Benazzi, Technical Service Manager at Toyota Material Handling Italy.
Regarding the structure of the training, it’s important to first build a base, which is the Bronze level. This entry level touches upon the basic product knowledge of the Toyota range and their components, as well as safety & behaviour. The Silver level then covers the deeper technical knowledge of all the different product families.
The highest level, Gold, prepares technicians to become team leaders and therefore focuses on more advanced elements of service: how to advise customers about norms and legislation, how to discuss solutions from a safety perspective, and so on. On the other hand, this part also focuses on reporting methodology and team coaching. In terms of methodology the focus is an on-site investigation, using 5 why-questions and implementing the right steps according to the PDCA (plan, do, check, act) approach. In terms of coaching, the technicians learn how to create their own Hoshin (long-term plan), and how to apply the training to real-life situations while adhering to the values from the Toyota Service Concept (TSC), preparing technicians to become team leaders.
Francesco Benazzi describes the current status in Italy: “To this day, 90% of our technicians have completed the Bronze level, and around 40% has completed the Silver level, with the goal to reach 80%. 60 technicians (half of them at dealers) have so far completed the Gold level."