Knowledge and expertise, fading fast.
Updated: Jun 19
The cycling industry has witnessed remarkable growth and innovation in recent years, with new technologies and trends shaping the way we ride. However, amidst this progress, an issue has come to light: a deficit of knowledge and experienced staff within the industry. We are going to deep dive into how this can negatively impact customers during their journey to find the correct parts for their bicycle. Just recently we saw that Quality Bicycle Products closed its bicycle mechanics school, U of Q, previously the Barnett Bicycle Institute. The distributor said its projections pointed toward a decline in enrolment numbers. But other site the entry limitation that applicants needed to already be working in the industry as the main reason the course was unable to attract the right student numbers. The United Bicycle Institute, which is one of the longest standing training programs for budding mechanics, only has the capacity to graduate 350 students per year, which means that most new mechanics are taught on the job if they can get their foot in the door. With this comes knowledgable mentors who can train new staff, but as mechanic numbers decline, the knowledge base that is passed down from one generation of mechanics to the next diminishes.
Whilst, the reason behind in mechanic numbers is multifaceted, we do know that reasons often cited for leaving the profession are poor pay, and lack of opportunities. To add to the decline in skilled mechanics, historically, the bicycle industry has also been very male-dominated, and there has been a gender imbalance in many technical and mechanical trades and attracting females to the role is not always easy. Adding to this, customer sales representatives are presented with limited learning opportunities to upskill within the workplace. Short of taking a mechanical course themselves the only available opportunities for learning are through in store distribution rep visits, email mail outs, and acquiring knowledge on the job as they are exposed to different questions. What does this mean for customers though? Well it means when they go to their local store, or speak with a customer service member online the person they speak to may not be very experienced and may be unable to help without seeking assistance from a more skilled colleague. It can mean that access to timely advice is limited or the customer ends up concerned as to if they have received the correct information. The absence of well-trained mechanics hampers the industry's ability to provide comprehensive and reliable support to customers, ultimately impacting the customers overall experience. Bike Matrix can be an asset to everyone in the bike industry, as for an apprentice mechanic, it can take away the pressure of not knowing the compatibility side of repair, allowing them to focus on learning the skills as they get their knowledge base up to speed. It can empower the sales staff to assist customers without them needing to bring their bike in, or without the sales staff needing to rely on the knowledge of the mechanics. It can aid consumers shopping online but having their favourite online store show them only which parts fit their bike. It can also take the pressure off business owners who find themselves with an even tougher hiring market when each candidate needs to know the in's and out's of a bicycle, allow them to instead focus on core skills that are essential for the role, rather than the ideal knowledge base. Bike Matrix fills the knowledge gap in the industry, empowering individuals to make informed decisions when choosing parts. By bridging the current knowledge deficit, it strengthens the entire industry and enhances the overall customer experience.