N! Academy 2020 in review

29.12.2020 11:49

One of the most important activities of the Nexus Group is comprehensive educational activity. This activity is implemented as part of the Nexus Academy global project - N! Academy. Since February 2019, a successful international project has been also presented in Russia.

Becoming Better Every Day

The issue of professional education is of special importance today. Powerful development of automotive technologies such as the introduction of new high-tech systems and components, the complexity of the design and construction of the aggregate base, the use of upgraded materials, digitalization, artificial intelligence, etc., - all this requires the specialists of various areas of auto repair to constantly keep their eyes on the technological ball of the industry.

Today, we must not stop in our professional development and calm down. The educational process requires constant involvement in order to obtain additional information and new knowledge that enhances the professional competence of mechanical engineers, diagnosticians and other specialists. Otherwise, it will be impossible to repair a modern car arriving at the car service with high quality and speed.

And here we are talking not just about the basic training that can be obtained in a specialized educational institution of secondary vocational education and / or higher education, but about a deeper and more profound ongoing professional advancement, due to the rapid development of technical progress. An advancement that should be available to every employee of any Russian service center regardless of its location, size and business format.

Such training should be carried out easily enough, in a mode convenient for the working personnel and, what is extremely important, on the basis of the freshest and latest information about technologies of work performance, the advanced receptions and techniques of auto repair, and about new materials and components. And all this goes under the aegis of authoritative and competent in all variety of auto repair topics specialists.

Current Project

To solve this, frankly speaking, difficult and very responsible task Nexus Group has developed the Nexus Academy project, which, as it has been already noted, was implemented in Russia a little more than one and a half year ago. This international project offers all interested specialists in the sphere of motor transport repair a wide range of various training courses and events that are held together with Nexus strategic suppliers. And just this fact - direct involvement of Nexus strategic suppliers in the educational programs - is the main guarantee of high quality of training, relevance of its content, providing students with the most competent and up-to-date information corresponding to the requirements of today. After all, these brands, which are suppliers to the conveyors of the world's leading car manufacturers, own the most advanced automotive technologies and the most progressive know-how in the industry.
They know these technologies better than anyone else, because they themselves create, develop and implement them, producing parts of the highest level of quality of original products. These companies are ready to openly share all their knowledge through Nexus Academy programs, which in this context can be confidently called a truly unique and breakthrough project in the automotive aftermarket. A project that offers a wide variety of event and training formats for the most diverse audiences, including one of the most popular formats in Russia - round tables.

Premiere in Kazan

The first Nexus Academy event in the format of a round table was held in November 2019 in Kazan. Representatives of ZF Aftermarket, Continental, Valeo, Brembo, NRF, Bosch answered the questions of managers of service stations and retail stores of auto parts in the Republic of Tatarstan.
The round table format is one of the most convenient formats for discussing professional topics and debates on topical issues. Experts engage in a face-to-face dialogue, sharing their experience, the most successful solutions and pressing problems. Perfectly understanding the advantages of this format, Nexus Automotive Russia chose it to hold such meetings within Nexus Academy, in order to provide all participants with equal opportunities for communication, which can be very useful for them. 

 In the first - theoretical - part of the event, there were short presentations of brands. In their speeches speakers told about the paths taken by the companies from their foundation (as a rule, all the success stories of today's industry giants come from small mechanical enterprises emerged at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries) to the present day. Naturally, with special emphasis on key events: revolutionary inventions, achievements and innovations, as well as market shares in the supply chain and the automotive aftermarket.

In the second part, a round table was organized separately for each brand, during which speakers had to answer the most diverse questions - about novelties and claims, returns to the online stores, fakes and mistakes in the parts installation, the nuances of repair units and assemblies, etc.

As the participants shared their impressions afterwards, the whole event literally blazed through. Interesting, exciting, fascinating – they described it with such vivid epithets, confirming that the format of the round table was one of the most successful business events in the automotive aftermarket.

The Siberian Discussion

The next round table was held in Novosibirsk, the capital of the important Siberian region for Nexus, where two members of the Group were represented: the companies "Tiss" and "Unicom". It was attended by such leading global automotive component manufacturers as Denso, Continental, Brembo, NRF, Schaeffler, Mahle. More than 50 people attended the event and actively discussed issues related to warranty service, non-compliance of spare parts, new production standards, exchanged experience and contacts, dispelled myths straying among the buyers. Vigorous discussion was held on the differences between the parts installed on the conveyor belt or sold through distribution networks of automobile companies, and those released to the aftermarket under the brand of a direct manufacturer. After all, many people are afraid to buy parts for their car without a corresponding label (trademark) of a well-known car brand, worrying that they will spend money on a fake or inferior quality parts. "How do you explain such nuances to a customer?"  - the owners of auto parts stores asked, and the manufacturers of spare parts gave them competent professional answers, allowing to dispel absolutely all fears of car enthusiasts.

Providing assistance to service station representatives, explaining controversial points, orienting in trends and perspectives - this is one of the most important tasks in the whole complex of issues solved by Nexus Academy.

New Challenge

In 2020, it was planned to further develop the format that was loved by the participants - the round tables were to be held in Chelyabinsk, Krasnodar, St. Petersburg, and Irkutsk. But the situation with coronavirus made certain adjustments. All the face-to-face meetings had to be suspended for some time, plans had to be adjusted, work had to be restructured, and the project had to be completely moved to an online format: now Nexus Academy together with the suppliers of the Group holds training webinars and online events on a permanent basis. Joint webinars with ZF Aftermarket, Bosch, Exide Brembo, Continental, Valeo which covered the most relevant professional topics have already taken place. Modern cooling and thermal management systems, drive and clutch systems, suspension and steering components, brake systems, etc. were discussed.

Therefore, virtually every specialist in the field of auto repair could find something useful for themselves. Online meetings in the format of live communication with invited experts turned out to be especially interesting. Such meetings covered quite a wide range of issues, and they took place on the air mainly in the "question and answer" format. In the future, as quarantine restrictions will be lifted, face-to-face meetings will be resumed, but the experience gained from webinars will not be forgotten, as such events have clearly proved their usefulness and interest to listeners, especially those from remote regions and localities, and those who have no opportunity to take their employees away from work. This effective form of training is sure to continue its development.

Technical Trainings

Another very interesting and traditionally successful format of educational activities in the professional community, implemented by Nexus Academy, is technical trainings with manufacturers.

 At the beginning of March, Nexus Automotive Russia together with Valeo and "Avtosputnik" held the first technical trainings in Voronezh for the service stations employees. Right on-the-job, at the service stations, mechanics received new knowledge about the peculiarities of clutch installation from Petr Sigunov, technical trainer of the French manufacturer and supplier of Valeo automotive components.

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of such events. After all, even a very experienced technician, unfortunately, is not always fully aware of all the nuances of the installation of the parts newly appeared on the market. And meanwhile, possible assembly-disassembly errors may not only affect the car's operation, but also become a reason to refuse and return the part under warranty. And it is really important when automotive component manufacturers pay attention to all aspects at once - not only the quality of parts and achieving effective relations with sales channels.
There is always the other side of high technology - the complexity of the work, which must always be taken into account. It is necessary to understand the nuances and specifics, to understand the sequence of actions and predict the result. After all, quality guarantees are always associated with competent installation of parts and compliance with service deadlines.

Mobile Laboratory for Car Service Stations

Another extremely interesting and large-scale project within the Nexus Academy was launched in January 2020 together with the Smart Engineering Center - the "Mobile Laboratory for Car Service Stations". This laboratory is a vehicle with a specialist and equipment on board, which arrives at the car service station, where training on the most relevant topics is conducted.

In this format, it is possible to consider not only the most technologically simple topics, but also quite complex ones. For example, diagnostics and repair of running gear of cars, repair of engine timing systems and so on. The equipment of the mobile laboratory allows you to do this quite easily with the direct participation of qualified experts, accompanying their actions with useful comments and advice on equipment. The first 12 visits to car service stations in Moscow and the Moscow oblast were organized on the basis of partner service stations of Nexus Automotive Russia.

In practice, such training looks as follows. The Smart Engineering Center brings all the necessary materials in a specially equipped branded Citroen Jumpy: from chairs and benches to special tools and large automotive assemblies (suspensions, engines). It takes about half an hour to prepare such a "field training class". The training itself takes three hours. In this regard, the experience of the championship "The Best Vehicle Mechanic of Russia" was also useful: mechanics perform some practical tasks simultaneously, competing with each other, while a trainer of the Smart Engineering Center, observing the course of work, explains the correct and incorrect moments of work and gives recommendations. In this interactive form classes are held: modern and efficient. A good experience was also obtained from the joint work of two trainers: Smart Engineering Center trainer and technical expert of the manufacturer. The trainer from the Smart Engineering Center introduced participants to the technology in general, and the expert from the manufacturer pointed out the features on the example of their own brand technologies.

This form of event was held in cooperation with Brembo, NRF, and Delphi Technologies. Thus, by adapting traditional methods to the requirements of today, by introducing innovative approaches and the best practices of colleagues from around the world, Nexus Academy helps automotive aftermarket specialists to improve their professional skills in accordance with the technological realities of today's market.