Education at the Forefront of Seminars

Liz Jakacki, NSG Pilkington sales manager, speaks about OE versus aftermarket auto glass during a seminar at Auto Glass Week.

Thursday morning also gave attendees at Auto Glass Week™ in San Antonio the opportunity to take advantage of more seminars prior to the show floor opening. Seminars ranged from teaching the values of OE and aftermarket auto glass to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) services and tools. Putting education at the forefront was a message many in the audience agreed to after listening and participating in the morning’s seminars.

OE and Aftermarket Glass Seminar

The majority of industry professionals have noticed the increased chatter about OE and aftermarket glass, according to Liz Jakacki, NSG Pilkington sales manager. She began and ended her presentation with a quote that many in the industry are familiar with: “Not all glass is created equally.” She used this as a base to connect glass quality to ADAS.  She also spoke about several qualities of auto glass that include:

  • Light,
  • Heat,
  • Shape,
  • Coating shade bands, and
  • Distortion.

Approximately 11 million glass units are replaced annually, or 4-8 percent by state, according to Jakacki’s presentation. She believes there are three categories when it comes to auto glass options.

“You have OE, OEE and aftermarket. OEE stands for original equipment equivalent, this is actually rated higher than aftermarket,” Jakacki said. According to her presentation aftermarket glass only meets the minimum safety requirements. In addition OEE glass has everything with the exception of the manufacturer logo on it.

Throughout her glass seminar she made reference to the increased amount of ADAS commercials, which allow the customers to become more curious about what their vehicles are equipped with.

“Many are even saying 50 percent of cars by 2020 will need calibration, we all know calibration, glass and education are all intertwined,” Jakacki said. It’s no surprise to those in the industry that calibrations help to ensure vehicle safety.

Integrating Calibration into Your Business Seminar

The seminar, “Integrating Calibration in Your Business,” informed attendees about the benefits and challenges to calibration at Auto Glass Week.

There was barely an available seat for the seminar focusing on integrating calibration into individual businesses. The panel discussion went in depth over the pros and cons of doing recalibrations at the shop level versus relying on dealers to preform them.

Rupert Armitage, Auto Windscreens managing director, spoke about calibrations overseas.

“I often reference the UK as the industry leader when it comes to calibration,” he said.

Throughout his portion of the discussion he introduced the importance of headlight calibration in the UK and how it may eventually be seen in the U.S. He showed a brief video on the advancements in headlight technology, which have individual sensors located in the headlight. Sensors trigger not only when other vehicles are on the road, but also if there is a chance for an accident to occur, by having the option to create thousands of scopes with lighting.

Peter Brown, Tiny & Sons owner, represented the smaller privately owned shops. When deciding between performing calibrations in shop or relying on the dealer, Brown said in house is not an option.

“Smaller shops aren’t able to do the calibration in house because of the financial and space constraints, so many work with the dealers and it comes down to how much your shop is willing to invest in the potential risk,” Brown said.

But not everyone on the panel agreed with sending recalibrations to their closest dealer. “I think that we should be doing calibrations in house or work with the customers and dealerships to make it happen,” Dan Knowlton, K&K Glass (Florida) president, said.

City Auto Glass’s senior operations manager, George Weller, focused on cost and what business owners should consider. Some things include:

  • Having enough space,
  • Having additional personnel, and
  • Having enough vehicles for customers who may have to leave their vehicles for the day or overnight.

“I don’t want to scare you away, I just want to make sure you’re aware of what’s ahead, because doing the right thing is never easy,” Weller said.

The choice still comes down to what will be the best for each individual shop.

“I feel like eventually we’re going to have to get our own calibration equipment because that’s where the technology is forcing us to go to, but is it the right time,” Brown said.

No matter if a shop decides to perform calibration in house or not is something every panel member agreed to was customer education.

“The customer still doesn’t know or understand what’s in their car. It’s up to us to communicate that it’s no longer a 45-minute job anymore because of the recalibration needed. Customers need to expect to leave their car for a half day at minimum,” Brown said.

Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com™ for the latest from the event.

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