Skills on Show

After a COVID-enforced hiatus, 18 of the best staff from the Hino Australia dealer network competed at the 2022 Hino National Skills Contest Final.

The Hino National Skills Contest is one of the longest running and most comprehensive events of its type in the Australian automotive industry with 18 finalists competing in the Sales, Service and Parts categories, demonstrating their expertise through real-world role play scenarios and theoretical tests.

Held at the Hino National Training Centre facility in Sydney, this was the eleventh incarnation of the Hino National Skills Contest which began in 2008, exclusively for participants from the service division of Hino dealers located around the country.

Parts interpreters became involved in 2012 and the contest was further expanded to include sales representatives in 2013.

Having completed a series of qualifying rounds over the preceding months the finalists participated in a number of scenarios designed to test the skills and abilities applicable to their day-to-day roles at the dealerships where each of them works.

Each activity is formulated to simulate real world situations and to provide a level playing field for all contestants to ensure fairness within each category throughout the overall event.

Winners [L-R] Bevan Joseph, Heath Bonney & John Dempsey.
Winners [L-R] Bevan Joseph, Heath Bonney & John Dempsey.
Contestants in each discipline had to demonstrate their expertise in addressing customers’ needs in what was frequently an intense situation with the added distraction of a live audience.

The Service Technicians were tested on their diagnostic, analytical and technical skills in a series of hypothetical exercises, including quickly and accurately accessing the correct sections of workshop manuals and rectifying vehicle error codes as well as checking and determining the serviceability of major engine components such as connecting rod/piston assemblies and cylinder heads.

Parts contestants were tested on their interpretation skills in reference to replacement parts to suit the Hino 300 Series Hybrid, as well as the heavy duty Hino 500 and 700 Series trucks.

The parts interpreters were also tasked with identifying genuine versus non-genuine parts and their abilities to explain the differences and benefits to the customer.

Hino sales people had the opportunity to demonstrate both their knowledge of the products they offer at their dealerships and their abilities to interact with potential clients.

This often became very entertaining for the members of the live audience especially when the contestants had to handle a Hino employee playing the role of a disruptive customer, or the situation of attempting to successfully deal with two different customers at the same time.

The winner in each category (Parts, Service and Sales) received a cash prize and the opportunity to participate in an ultimate VIP experience as guests of Hino at the 2023 Repco Supercars race at the Newcastle street circuit.

An innovation for this 2022 event had all contestants competing in a friendly

“Sale of the Century”-type quiz with motorsport icon and Hino Ambassador Neil Crompton acting as the quiz master and overall master of ceremonies.

After rapid-fire rounds with a series of questions from across many Hino-related topics, Michael Xioa from CMI Hino Melbourne was crowned the overall quiz winner.

Following the day’s activities the results were assessed and the 2022 Hino National Skills Champions were announced at a dinner event that evening.

“The Hino Australia’s National Skills Contest demonstrates our commitment to investing in and developing our staff, while ensuring they remain up-to-date with the latest technology — these were contributing factors to Hino Australia recently winning global Parts and Service Awards for the 14th and 11th consecutive years respectively,” said Sam Suda, President and CEO of Hino Australia.

A diagnostic check is made under pressure to find a fault during competition.

“A skilled dealer network ensures we can continue to provide world-class service and knowledge to our customers — it is particularly important given the skills shortage that is being experienced across the trucking industry.”

Hino sales veteran Bevan Joseph from Sydney’s City Hino took out the Sales sector, capping off his 40 year career in truck sales after placing third and second in previous years.

Heath Bonney from Sydney’s Adtrans Hino was rewarded for his hard work with first place in the Parts contest and John Dempsey from Mt Gambier’s Barry Maney Hino received the award for the best Service technician.

“I was here about four years ago as a second-year apprentice and I was in way over my head, but I’ve come back and am stoked to win it,” said John at the presentation. Enthusiasm has already started to build for the 2023 Skills Contest.

“The national skills competition challenges our service technicians, parts interpreters and sales consultants on their knowledge and skills in their various disciplines,” says Brian Wright, Hino Australia’s General Manager – Sales and Supply Chain.

“Coming together in this arena allows the relationships to be built between our dealership staff and also the sharing of knowledge,” he adds.

“This is very important for our business overall, but most importantly our customers.”

Brian Wright addresses the audience.
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