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James Dillon: Workshop diagnostic tools strategy

Where: Workshop Training Hub (in association with autotechnician and sponsored by ZF Aftermarket)

A winning combination of expertise, practical experience and dynamism made James Dillion’s talks a firm favourite with showgoers. With so many high-quality aftermarket diagnostic tool companies competing for workshop businesses, it is easy to forget that those offered by OEMs can also be viable options.

“You have to see the big picture; this is not a simple topic,” Dillion explained to a packed audience, before asking workshops to question honestly whether dealer tools are necessary because of the limitations of generic tools, or is the real reason down to technicians?

His bigger picture theme expanded into explaining that dealer tools are not about quick plugins but global scans. He implored technicians to look beyond the EOBD socket and consider dealer support, whether this be with data and bulletin reports of common faults, to physical special tools. He also highlighted the advantages of specialising in several brands, as well as the commercial benefits of offering coding services not just to private customers but also to other businesses.

While Dillion preaches to his flock that they should look at the bigger picture, he is not hypocritical. He also criticised OEM- over-reliance, because motivations within the independent sector are different to those of franchised outfits. For instance, replacing high-value parts quickly (such as ECUs) can be cheaper within a main dealer environment, due to its relatively sky-high hourly rates. This situation is especially relevant, when dealer diagnostics do not always lead you to the fault. This is why Dillion’s focus is not on the equipment but on the technician, especially as he warns against using dealer tool purchases as replacing training.

About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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