While the current, and impending, truck driver shortage is well known, what is not as apparent is the shortage of qualified technicians to repair those trucks.
"About 50% of the people fixing trucks ( and cars) right now are baby boomers,” Tony Molla, of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence told the Green Bay Press Gazette.
“We're expected to lose about half of our workforce sometime in the next seven to 12 years to retirement. That's a big hole to fill," Molla added.
Nationally there are 35,000 qualified new technicians graduating from vocational educational systems each year. However, estimates put the need at 60,000 per year.
Perhaps that is why Ryder was willing to demolish a brand new tractor trailer just to showcase the skills of the company’s technician workforce. The company’s challenge, which they called “Project Rebirth,” involved putting a 2015 model-year Volvo tractor through a gauntlet of destruction that included an exploding debris field, a destructive spike strip, and finally, the impact of a two-ton wrecking ball. Then, Ryder gave a team of 10 of its technicians 24 hours to repair it.
“While the kind of destruction shown in this video is extreme, it’s not that far from some of the excessive damage that has come through our shops over the past 80 years,” says Dennis Cooke, president, Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder.