Survey Finds Lube Techs Positive and Well-Informed

Paul Hiller, ICML

The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) recently commissioned a worldwide survey of its certificants, sponsors, technical contributors and trainers. As anticipated, the results provided a snapshot of the perceptions and priorities held by a large cross-section of ICML’s market. Most responses were practical, well-informed and positive. Many also shared favorable impressions of ICML as an authoritative organization pursuing a valuable mission.

At the time of the survey, 91 percent of the respondents held current ICML certifications. Participants were asked what they or their company values most from an established ICML membership. The highest rated responses included certification exam discounts, recognition by ICML, access to exclusive volunteer opportunities and interaction with fellow practitioners. These elements have subsequently been integrated into ICML membership packages.

When respondents were asked what prompted them to become certified, two scenarios emerged: managers initiated the training and certification programs for their teams, or individuals took the initiative to pursue certifications on their own. Interestingly, only 31 percent reported that their boss scheduled the certification exam or instructed them to do so, yet 58 percent indicated their employers paid for the exams. This discrepancy suggests some employers pay for self-improvement and training even if it is an employee who proposes such activities. Nevertheless, nearly 26 percent of respondents reported paying for certification exams themselves.

Self-motivation was revealed in a variety of other responses as well. “I wanted to enhance my knowledge and skills in lubricant analysis and also wanted to increase my value/recognition,” wrote one respondent. Another hinted at a different type of motivational experience: “Had I not passed the course, I would’ve been fired.”

To help gauge brand perception, ICML asked participants to describe the organization in a single word. Positive responses included words like smart, expert, reliable and authoritative.

Survey participants were also questioned about the social media platforms they use regularly, with 54 percent citing LinkedIn. Accordingly, ICML now hosts a LinkedIn discussion group for members and lubrication practitioners.

Following are some of the other highlights from the survey:

Based on your experience, what attributes set ICML apart from other organizations?

“I believe that ICML does stress holding its members to a high standard in terms of training and continuing education.”

“Practice instead of theory.”

“Intense focus on lubrication. Opening this shadowed part of industry to the world.”

“Sets a high bar to earn certification, which is a good thing. So, when people see your credential, it is looked upon highly.”

“Besides certification, ICML gives awards to companies or organizations that achieve lubrication and oil analysis excellence.”

“The staff is easily accessible; questions for exams are thoroughly reviewed.”

“ICML recognizes the field experience and expertise apart from focusing only on classroom training.”

“I really like that ICML’s testing is not only based on maintenance strategy but also covers best practices. This is valuable for not only the technician out in the field but also for the maintenance manager trying to develop a maintenance strategy for the facility.”

“ICML is more grounded, dealing with the real world.”

Has certification impacted your earnings potential or marketability?

Yes, certification improved earnings potential or marketability: 52%

No impact: 36%

Why Certify/Recertify?

To maintain credentials, an ICML certificant must recertify every three years. Nearly half (45 percent) of survey respondents indicated they were still newly certified and had no experience with recertification yet. However, those who had been recertified at least once identified their top reasons for doing so:

  • Initial three-year certification was beneficial; makes sense to maintain it for my job/career/business: 76%
  • I feel the need to keep up with evolving industry standards: 63%
  • Boss paid for recertification and instructed me to do it: 24%

Other comments about recertification included the following:

“Personal satisfaction and accomplishment on attaining my certification.”

“I believe that in a few years, the lube industry will replicate the pharma industry, and all sales/offers/recommendations will have to be made only by certified specialists.”

“Nice to have if I need to find another job.”

Subscribe to Machinery Lubrication

About the Author