The Technician Shortage

The Technician Shortage

Guest writer Jim Dettore addresses a major concern amidst labor shortfalls: the technician shortage.

The construction equipment industry is facing a long-term significant challenge: a shortage of experienced service technicians. The demand for skilled technicians has grown exponentially in recent years as construction equipment becomes more advanced, complex, and specialized. Unfortunately, finding experienced technicians to fill the demand has become increasingly difficult.


The shortage of service technicians is primarily due to two reasons: aging workforce and lack of interest from younger generations. Many service technicians in the industry are close to retirement age, and as they leave the workforce, the demand for their replacements is higher than ever before. The younger generations are showing less interest in technical trades, leading to fewer young people pursuing careers in heavy equipment service.


The lack of experienced service technicians is causing significant challenges for the construction, mining, and gas compression companies as well. Many companies are forced to delay projects due to equipment downtime, leading to costly delays and lost revenue. Additionally, unskilled technicians may not be able to properly diagnose and repair equipment, leading to further equipment issues down the line.


The importance of ongoing training for service technicians cannot be overstated. As construction equipment becomes more advanced and complex, ongoing training is essential to stay up to date with the latest technologies, repair methods, and safety protocols. Training programs provide technicians with the skills and knowledge they need to diagnose and repair equipment effectively and efficiently. 


Teaching service technicians the fundamental skills of proper parts inspection have several advantages.  Parts salvage or replacement decisions made with knowledgeable confidence will benefit the dealership in several ways. The current parts supply chain shortage requires better, well-informed decisions to be made, instead of simply replacing a part that might fix the problem, especially if the machine sits idle while waiting for the new backordered part (that may not fix the problem) to arrive. It also has a significant effect on reducing troubleshooting times, and equipment downtime. Service rework and unnecessary callouts are also reduced. All of which results in improved customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, repeat business, and improved warranty recovery.


Construction equipment dealerships must take proactive measures to attract and retain skilled technicians. One way to do this is to offer competitive compensation packages that include benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off. Additionally, companies should provide ongoing high quality, effective training opportunities to their technicians to ensure they stay current on the latest technologies and repair methods. The ongoing training combined with excellent communication help newer technicians feel appreciated and cared about. Constant communication, continuing education in their respective fields, and recognition of achievements help today’s younger workforce feel appreciated and invested in, thus helping improving employee retention. 


In conclusion, the service technician shortage in the heavy equipment industry is a significant challenge that must be addressed. Ongoing training is essential to ensuring that technicians have the skills and knowledge they need to diagnose and repair equipment effectively and efficiently. Heavy equipment dealerships must take proactive measures to attract and retain skilled technicians to prevent costly delays and lost revenue due to equipment downtime.

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