While most Registered Member companies are familiar with the Auto Glass Safety Council™’s (AGSC) on-site validation review program, often representatives new to the process are curious about the details of the program. Following is an overview of the program, how it works, and where we are in the three-year validation cycle.
The current validation cycle will end in 2014. In the next validation cycle, beginning in 2015, all Registered Member companies will have at least one location validated within the next four years. This will provide all companies with the benefit of a pair of objective eyes to help identify areas in need of improvement.
Locations receive about 70 days’ notice when it is time for their validations. As part of the notification, locations are asked to send in some location-specific information prior to the validation. This allows the validators to complete some of their work before arriving at the location, thus avoiding some problems and also shortening the time the validator spends at the location.
The length of a location’s validation depends on three main factors:
1) The number of people who ever install auto glass at the location;
2) Whether the installations are mobile or take place at the location; and
3) Whether or not delays are encountered during the installations.
In general, a validation takes about one hour, plus the time it takes to interview and observe each technician install a windshield.
For a one-person location with no travel time or other delays, the entire validation may be completed in two hours. For a four-person location, with a 15-minute travel time between each windshield installation, the validation will normally take about six hours. If there are delays due to customers, corrosion or other issues, a validation will take longer. However, since the validator is only observing and interviewing one person at a time, the location’s other employees may go about their regular duties until it is their turn to be observed.
During the validation, the validators verify that the location’s actions and answers coincide with the AGRSS Standard™ and the location’s adhesive manufacturer’s instructions. A typical validation includes:
- A five-minute opening meeting for introductions and scheduling;
- A separate observation and interview of each person who ever installs auto glass;
- A review of historical records;
- A review of the material storage area;
- Some time for the validator to complete the appropriate paperwork; and
- A brief closing meeting.
Since the validation process requires one windshield installation for each person who installs auto glass, this step takes the most time.
It is not necessary for the validator to witness the vehicle pre-inspection or the removal of the old windshield. When practical, the validator will begin the validation of each technician after this has been accomplished. The validator does, however, need to see the cleaning and priming of the glass, the cleaning and priming of the pinch weld, the cutting of the old urethane, and everything that comes afterwards for each validated installation.
There are a few issues that can prevent a validation from being completed as scheduled. These include one or more missing technicians and a lack of a separate windshield installation for each technician. In these cases, the location may incur additional costs in order for the validation to be completed at a later date. The windshield installations do not have to be customer jobs; in some cases where a job has not been available, company vehicles have been used.
The validator will work with the location to make sure that the validation is quick, efficient and causes as little disruption to the location’s business as is possible within the validator’s schedule.
If one or more non-compliances are identified at a location during validation, these are communicated to the location during the validation, along with the fact that a re-validation/return visit will be conducted in about six weeks. By notifying the location of the problem and giving them time to correct the problem, the AGSC helps locations to become compliant and to provide a safer service to their clients. By providing the revalidation, AGSC allows locations the opportunity to prove that effective actions have been taken to move the location into compliance with the Standard.
It should be noted that revalidations are not the same as validations; at a revalidation, only those areas or technicians found to be non-compliant are revalidated. Locations that prove they have corrected their problems are issued “Compliance After Corrective Action” reports to demonstrate their accomplishment.
Many companies have already been through a validation and have provided positive feedback to the AGSC. “I know that many are surprised at how ‘easy’ the audit is,” says Kathy Bimber, director of operations for the AGSC. “I think many expect something really difficult and do not totally understand what the audit actually is.”
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