The Auto Glass Safety Council™ (AGSC) held a three-hour member meeting on Tuesday providing updates from several committees, including education, accreditation and marketing.
During the education update, Jeff Olive, education committee chairman, said the new testing site for the AGSC Certified Technician exam is in full operation. Technicians can now take the test three times if they don’t pass on the first try.
“We are adding questions to our item bank,” he said. “Our goal is to reach 1,000 questions that will rotate randomly through the certification test.”
Jean Pero, chair of the accreditation committee, along with Penny Ouellette of Orion Registrar Corp., Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive Aftermarket Systems, and Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Safety Consultants, 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 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. If you have ten technicians, it can take several days.”
Auditors like to answer questions by watching a technician in action, 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 off site, 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 addressed what Registered Member companies can watch for from an adhesive perspective.
“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.”
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 of Allstar Glass, Mike Schenian of City Auto Glass and Peter Brown of Tiny and Sons offered AGSC members some marketing tips.
“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 number-one 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,” he added. “Sometimes we’ll show them how to get there.”
Scharaga told three stories about times he had 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 contacts back. It’s a powerful message that resonates with government officials,” he said.
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.
Today, Auto Glass Week™ 2015 officially kicks off. Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com™ for more from the event, which continues through Friday.