The Auto Glass Safety Council™ (AGSC) held its annual member meeting just prior to Auto Glass Week™ 2015 providing several updates, including ones from the education, credentialing and marketing committees.
During the education committee update, chair Jeff Olive, training manager for Glasspro in North Charleston, S.C., said the new testing site for the AGSC certified technician exam is in full operation. Technicians can now take the test up to three times without additional fees if they don’t pass on the first try.
“We are also adding questions to our item bank,” he said. “Our goal is to reach 1,000 questions that will rotate randomly through the certification test.”
AGSC’s education committee had held a marathon eight-hour meeting the day prior that was dedicated to updating the industry’s replacement-certification program by going tenaciously through a data bank of exam questions and answers.
Credentialing committee chair Jean Pero, along with Penny Ouellette of Orion Registrar Corp. in Arvada, Colo.; Dale Malcolm, technical manager at Dow Automotive Systems Aftermarket in Dayton, Ohio; and Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Safety Consultants in Sun Prairie, Wis., discussed how AGSC Registered Member companies can best be prepared for validation.
“No major changes to the program have been announced,” noted Ouellette, whose company oversees the auditing program.
“When a location has been selected, you are notified ahead of time,” she said. “We send you information about the validation process. We explain how it happens and what you can send us now. If you have one technician, it may only take one hour.”
Auditors like to complete their compliance checklists by watching the technician while he works, she said.
“If you do have a non-compliance, it’s not the end of the world,” she said. “If it is something we can verify offsite, we will. Say you didn’t have a training record for one of your technicians … and if we do need to come back, we don’t need to look at everything again, just those pieces that are non-compliant.”
Malcolm gave an overview of the most common types of non-compliances and the ways to avoid them.
A top issue is primer not shaken long enough.
“Use a timer to ensure you do proper length of dry time for primers,” he explained. “Sometimes in our heads what we think is a minute is really a half minute…. Primer dry time may be too short. I see it all the time. That’s why I suggest using a timer.”
Missing technician training records are another issue.
“Every time you have a meeting, put a sign-off sheet in everyone’s file,” Malcom said. “If you have given a copy of the Standard to every employee, include a note in their file. This is how you can prove they received a copy.”
Checking expiration dates is another important thing to remember, he said. This is another non-compliant issue that comes up during auditing.
“Always check those expiration dates,” he said.
Technicians should also be using a “V” urethane bead rather than a round bead, according to Malcolm.
Beranek said communication is the key to compliance.
“Communicate with your employees,” he said. “Don’t just assume your technicians are doing everything right. Older people may pick up a habit you may not see. Take the time to be managers and educators.”
Bob Scharaga, president of All Star Glass in San Diego, Calif., Mike Schenian, president of City Auto Glass in St Paul, Minn.,and Peter Brown, AGSC marketing committee chair led a session on marketing.
“We all struggle with our marketing message,” said Schenian. “We include an AGSC message on our voicemail. We point out that we’re an Auto Glass Safety Council Registered Member Company. We say that people should look for an AGSC member. It’s incumbent upon all of us to share this message.”
“It’s important that we educate not only the consumer but the insurers,” said Scharaga. “We do a lot of lunch-and-learns with insurance agents.”
Scharaga’s customer service representatives tell prospective customers: “For us, safety is our No. 1 priority. That leads us to being a proud member of the AGSC. If they are looking at other glass companies, we recommend they visit www.safewindshields.org. Sometimes we’ll show them how to get there.”
Scharaga told stories about three different times he lost fleet and local government contracts to lower bidders.
“In each case, I explained about our accreditation with AGSC, I showed them our certificates, and showed them safewindshields.org. We got all three contracts back. It’s a powerful message that resonates with government officials,” he said.
The Marketing Committee had met the day prior to review a number of projects in the works, including member brochures, scripting and videos.
AGSC president Debra Levy led the final session, which included a discussion about possible changes to the AGSC dues structure. Levy said almost all members will see no change or a reduction in their dues. The changes will be discussed in-depth in the next newsletter.