KEY LARGO, Fla. — As part of Suzuki’s new priority commitment to its marine division, the company reopened its Atlanta service training center for the first time in four years.
Suzuki also has added online training courses and drafted new product manuals. The increased technical support is in direct response to dealer and consumer requests, field service manager Robert Bucklin said.
The Atlanta center will offer a pair of two-day courses and one weeklong system diagnostics course. The two-day courses are troubleshooting classes for technicians and dealers. The first one addresses the Suzuki Diagnostic System (SDS), the company’s computerized diagnostic system.
Classes teach the technicians to understand what they’re looking at when they use the SDS and teach them to use it better. A more in-depth understanding of SDS and examining SDS in a no-pressure situation helps technicians feel more comfortable using it, Bucklin said.
The second two-day course is a troubleshooting class on Suzuki Modular Instrument System (SMIS) gauges. The course runs the gamut from understanding the gauges from the minute they are pulled out of the box to how to reset and reprogram them when they malfunction, Bucklin said.
“We probably get five calls a day on our tech service line, just on the gauges,” Bucklin said.
When dealers call about the gauges, they are fed up and frustrated. The class allows dealers and technicians to work on the gauges without angry customers in front of them. In the class “we screw ‘em up and then work on them,” he said.
SDS five-day course
The five-day course is a Systems Diagnostic Course that addresses troubleshooting for all Suzuki engines, from the 40-hp model to the 300-hp model.
“We look at problems with compression and ignition and troubleshoot things such as high-speed misfire or no spark on one cylinder,” Bucklin said.
The course also re-emphasizes the basics, he said. “These guys have been doing this for so long they forget the basics. This takes them back to good basics: spark, compression, fuel.”
Bucklin said the five-day course has been the most popular one. The cost is $150; it’s $100 for the two-day course. Classes will start in mid-November.
Online training, new manuals
New Suzuki online training courses have been designed and will be available by September, Bucklin said. These are short 30-minute videos with snippets on things such as how to rebuild a carburetor. Chapters and sections of the new product manuals also will be available in video format.
Drafts of the new product manuals have been completed and were available for review at Suzuki’s new-product meeting this week at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. The manuals will be available this fall.
The training center in Atlanta has been dormant since the recent recession, Bucklin said. Suzuki’s new emphasis on the marine division, the company’s goal of capturing 10 percent of the marine engine market and the energy behind the company’s 50th anniversary year were deciding factors in reopening the center.