Top Technician 2018 winner named – Shaun Miller

Published:  23 June, 2018

Berkshire-based mechanic Shaun Miller has been named as Top Technician 2018, identifying him as the best garage professional in the UK.

Top Technician saw another extremely tight final this year. Shaun, who is from Millers Garage in Newbury, claimed the title by showing first class diagnostic prowess and fault finding abilities on a range of vehicles. Shaun’s win follows his extremely good showing in 2017, when he was runner up.

Commenting on his victory in the competition, Shaun said: “I am so delighted to be Top Technician 2018. Half a lifetime has gone into this achievement, since I first started in the industry. I wanted to win Top Technician whenI first heard about it seven years ago, and now I have. It’s amazing to have this trophy.”
 
Matthew Pestridge of D&D Autos Ashford, Kent was named as runner-up for 2018.
 
This year saw almost 1,000 techs take the initial online test, with that number brought down to ten for a practical semi-final and five for the final, where contestants have to show their skills fixing faults placed on vehicles by a team of industry experts. The final was followed by the Top Technician/Top Garage Gala Dinner, where the winners for both Top Technician and sister competition Top Garage were named. 

As winner, Shaun received an extensive prize package, including items from all the sponsors as well as a cash prize from Aftermarket magazine. Matthew also received a runner-up prize package from the sponsors and the magazine.

Top Technician 2018 and Top Garage 2018 come to you in association with ABC Awards, Auto iQ, the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) and the Independent Garage Association (IGA).  

Top Technician 2018 and Top Garage 2018 are sponsored by Pico Technology, Pro-Align, Ring Automotive and Snap-on.
 

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  • Miller on a mission: Just say NO!  

    Top Technician 2018 champion Shaun Miller is on a roll. Apart from being crowned as the best tech the country, he has diagnostic investigation as a passion as well as a profession. If that’s not enough he is also a new father with plans for the future of the family business, Millers Garage.
        
    Sounds like a busy life eh? Well that’s not the half of it, as Shaun is also one of the brains behind a growing campaign to change attitudes to the fitment of customer supplied parts. Together with Steven Paterson from Krypton Garage and MOT Centre, Shaun has set up 'Say NO to customer supplied parts (UK),’ a Facebook group dedicated to spreading the message of, as you might expect, educating customers not to fit customer
    supplied parts.
        
    A year after setting up, the group has almost 2,000 members, with participation on the rise.

    Steady increase
    Shaun explained the thinking behind it: "It came about as I noticed a steady increase in people asking us to fit their own supplied parts. I didn't want to do it, as at the end of the day, the parts profit is part of our business, Also, the parts they where supplying where normally incorrect or cheap budget parts which we won’t fit anyway.”
        
    Shaun had some experience of the problems fitting customer supplied-parts brought, as like many businesses, there was a time when Millers Garage would do it too: “We used to fit parts provided by customers, everybody did.“
        
    When the business made a stand against the practice, Shaun found that a solid explanation of why they were refusing would come in handy: ”When we started to say no, people wanted to know why.”
        
    So talking to Steven, Shaun discovered one of Steven’s friends lost a lot of money when a part they fitted supplied by a customer went wrong, “Public liability insurance is actually a massive issue with this. If you fitted the part, you are a professional, that means you are saying that the part is fit for purpose. Most public liability insurance will only pay out if there is a paper trail where the company has supplied the part. This way, if they can trace it back to the supplier in cases where something has failed and caused a lawsuit, the manufacturer of the part can officially be questioned about the issue.”

    Education
    Shaun felt this was something people should be talking about more, and the social media realm beckoned: “Not long after I started to look into it,  I was speaking to Steven Paterson about it – he is probably the best diagnostic guru in the country – he said he'd also had enough of it. That is when we set-up the Facebook group, along with admin help from Dave Hill another very well respected technician. Within a few days we had 700 members up and down the country. It is trying to educate the industry to stop fitting customer supplied parts.”
        
    He obviously hit a nerve.
        
    Shaun wants to spread the message that, while a business may believe it is helping a customer by fitting a part they brought in, long-term it is bad for the customer and the sector as a whole: “One you are damaging the industry, as it is a rapid race to the bottom, with everything cheaper and cheaper. Two – If something goes wrong you are going to be in massive trouble for it. Is it worth it?”
        
    It also raises the question of who is your customer: “Mostly those customers who bring their own parts  are not the customers for us, although I have managed to convert one or two – the ones who say "can you fit it?” I explain why not.
      
    “I ask how much they paid for that clutch and I tell them I can get it for maybe £20 more, but they are getting value for it as they have cover. It is that perceived value and that is what really made us start pushing it. We have 2,000 members now.”

    Watch this space
    Not that we want to let the cat out of the bag, but Shaun was keeping quiet about his involvement in the group: “I go to training courses now and people say, 'have you heard of that group?' They start talking about it, but I don’t say anything. It is interesting to hear people mention it. It’s quite cool.“
        
    On plans for the future of the group, Shaun said: “We want to spread the word countrywide and completely end this fast growing trend created by the internet. If garages keep allowing this it will become the norm and we will lose control of our industry. We will keep pushing the group and trying to get as much publicity in the industry as possible.”
        
    The campaign may extend to other platforms as well: “We may look to expand to other networks such as Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as some point in the future. Watch this space.” As for right now, Shaun is looking to the readers of Aftermarket to join the campaign: “We all have a responsibility to protect our profit and the future of our industry so now is your turn to help stop this cancer in our industry.” If you want to join the group go to: http://bit.ly/saynouk

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