By Professor Jim Saker
Some years ago, we were asked to research the topic of professional registers and the need for regulation of occupations. The aim was to gain an understanding of why certain professions had developed a registration system and the impact this had on job roles and their standing in society. This may sound a little academic, and you may require a stimulant or two should you care to read further, but the research raised some issues relevant to our sector.
Professor Jim Saker is director of the Centre for Automotive Management at Loughborough University’s Business School. He has been involved in the automotive industry for more than 20 years.
The idea of professional registration came about for four basic reasons:
The need for standardisation
The historic rise in professional registers in the UK dates to the 1300s and was driven by desire for standardisation of measures. For a medieval economy to grow, commerce needed to have standard units in which to trade. This gave an element of trust in the market mechanism. The need for transparency and understanding gave rise to many of the 102 livery companies of the City of London.
If you look at a number of our aftersales operations from a customer’s perspective, many are incomprehensible. This confusion and uncertainty is compounded by the fact that the customer has no idea of the status or qualifications of the person working on their vehicle.
Without a transparent registrar that determines the right to practise, there is no perceived uniform standard of performance. Will one dealer offer the same level of performance as another? Will a small dealership have the same level of trained personnel as a large one? Will a multi-franchise dealership have manufacturer specialists?