New research puts automotive technician cell phone usage into sharp focus, and results show that smart devices are an important tool for technicians.
IMR Inc. Automotive Research’s latest report says that nearly every automotive technician owns cell phone, not surprisingly, and that nearly half own a tablet or iPad. More importantly, more than half of those personal smart devices end up in the bay where they work.
More than 87%, says the report, use their smart phone as a tool for work in their bays. For those looking to develop tools best accessed through a cell phone, nearly two-thirds use iPhone/iOS devices and less than a quarter use Android operating system devices.
The research also asked technicians how they felt about the information that they were accessing. Overall most rated parts manufacturers websites as good to excellent. None reported that the websites were poor.
For industry professionals concerned with the importance of accessing information for technicians, in particular as the rapid pace of technological change continues to challenge everyone in the information supply chain, it is vital to note that some 79% of technicians use their smart device to access technical information.
For smaller shops, those with 1 to 3 bays, this percentage rises to 93%.
It is almost as high for shops with 4 to 7 bays, at 85.9%, but drops significantly down to 38.5%, for larger shops with eight or more bays. The implication here is that there is a tremendous gulf between the how large shops access information, and the practices at small and medium operations.
Overall accessing technical information is the number one area of usage by an automotive technician for cell phones in the bay, but it is not the only reason techs rely on these devices. Some 69% overall use their cell phone to access technician manual sites about the same access catalogue information, 61.8% for going to manufacturers’ websites for product or technical information, and just over half, 55.6%, to actually order parts.
It should be noted that it does not appear to be the method of choice for accessing training, instructional content and videos, with overall only 11.1% of technicians using their cell phones for this purpose. It is not completely shunned though, as technicians at smaller shops once again set themseles apart, reporting that 18.2% use their cell phones to access training.
And when technicians are not accessing websites and technical manuals? The research shows that social networking sites Facebook and YouTube outstrip all other sites by a significant margin.