Auto Glass Week swung into full gear today, the second day of the annual industry conference taking place this week in person in Orlando, and offering a virtual component as well.
A full day of conference educational sessions began with “Morning Coffee with … Jon Laski.” While most of the audience was probably thinking, “I really need to pace myself,” the CEO at City Auto Glass in Minnesota brought them to life with tales of his journey to the independent world.
Then, armed with coffee, the largest crowds of the day attended a series of sessions that addressed Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Representatives for AirPro Diagnostics, AsTech, Autel, Launchtech and LaVision all discussed emerging ADAS technology and how it will fit into the cars of the future.
Next up was an all-star panel representing a variety of industry segments discussing ADAS research and training. Participating was Emily Jackson of Mygrant, George Lesniak of Autel, Chris Gutierrez of Protech Automotive Solutions, Jacques Navant from Don’s Mobile Glass, Bob Beranek, chair of the AGSC AGRSS Standards Committee, and Eric Newell of AirPro Diagnostics. There was consensus among the group that auto glass shops must recognize that ADAS is no longer a novelty and that calibration will remain a real and growing necessity. The question of whether or not companies should perform calibrations themselves, however, is an individual business decision for each shop to make based on their own capacity, finances, environment, etc.
When asked whether it was ever advisable to do a mobile calibration outdoors the group said “only if the environment is correct” citing weather and the ability to drive the car the necessary distance, among other factors.
For the “Learn from Auto Shops that Offer Calibration Services” session, Barry Lintner, owner at Lloyd’s Glass, and George Weller of Zenith Auto Glass, joined some of the previous panelists. Navant said that his firm started a second company so that it could service competitors and body shops. Weller said that he added calibration services for marketing purposes and only performs the calibrations for themselves.
Lintner told the audience that calibration work is a “significantly complicated business that requires much research and a lot of work to do correctly.” He described it as a moving target that changes every day and said a key to satisfying customers was to engage in extensive training of your customer service representatives. Lintner also said that Lloyd’s does a lot of grassroots marketing, promotes the business with short videos that educate the consumer, and that social media was extremely effective.
The educational sessions wrapped with a panel speaking to lessons from COVID. Industry leaders agreed that standing by their employees was probably the most important thing they did. As for the one big COVID inspired business change that will be maintained in the post-COVID environment, Peter Brown of Tiny and Sons Auto Glass simply answered “paperless,” while Jon Laski and Ted Andersen of NOVUS Inc. agreed that it will be the utilization of remote customer service representatives.
The show’s exhibit hall remained open in the afternoon and into the evening and tomorrow’s schedule provides opportunities for glass technician certification training and exams under the auspices of the Auto Glass Safety Council and the National Windshield Repair Division.
The show continues through Wednesday. Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com for the latest news from the event. Interested parties who were unable to make it to Orlando can still attend Auto Glass Week online by visiting autoglassweek.com. Free trade show passes are available there as well.