Ford is introducing its own “Ford Certified Glass Network” (FCGN) for auto glass businesses that work on Ford vehicles.
The automaker’s website says the program will help prepare technicians “to meet the highest quality standards for every Ford and Lincoln vehicle glass installation, utilizing equipment procedures and parts.”
On-site assessment for the program includes a pre-assessment and review of certification requirements, including tools and other equipment, training, the facility in which the glass work will be performed and Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) membership and certification.
An on-site verification assessment is scheduled, and during the assessment visit, technicians can expect to provide verification of certification requirements and glass installation process assessment and receive coaching. Technicians will participate in a closing meeting to identify actions required to meet certification, and discussion will include assessment of the glass installation process.
“I think we’re going to see something similar to this with almost every manufacturer,” says Jacques Navant, chair of AGSC’s ADAS Committee and technical director of Don’s Mobile Glass in Modesto, Calif. Navant says “we’re all witnessing the next evolution of auto glass and all things mechanical” with programs like FCGN.
Navant says he sees value in such programs, because they provide an upgraded skill set for technicians. Ford is extending “an olive branch of education to smaller shops” with programs like FCGN and inviting them to be part of the Ford family. “I think there’s value there when you have anything that includes taking your shop or your job to the next level.”
More checks and balances will become important as vehicles contain more advanced technology, says Navant, who adds that he expects the industry will see shops and insurance providers asking for more and more as technology advances. “I think in our current world we live in you shouldn’t have anything to be nervous about,” Navant says of a checks and balances system. “It gives smaller shops an opportunity to become educated and take their businesses to the next level.”
Minimum Certification Requirements
Enrollment in FCGN comes with certain requirements, including two years of experience replacing auto glass, or possession of a verifiable credit rating and service history. Technicians must provide proof of Garagekeepers or General Liability insurance with a $1 million minimum limit, must be in compliance with all local, state and federal government regulations, possess AGSC membership and certification, and follow Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard™ (AGRSS) for quality and safety.
A dedicated service location, which may include a mobile business, is necessary, as well as a dress code for production and administrative personnel. Technicians are encouraged to maintain communication with customers during the glass installation process, and provide a detailed explanation of the work completed on each vehicle.
Facility and Workshop Requirements
According to Ford’s website page for the program, program certification requires that a facility providing auto glass replacement on Ford and Lincoln vehicles must have a well-maintained exterior appearance, a secure area for customer vehicles, designated parking, customer-only restrooms and WiFi available in the customer reception area.
The auto glass shop where the work is performed must have a company-specific website and domain name, high-speed Internet access to Ford’s online tools and resources and a manager’s deliverable email address.
Mobile businesses will be required to have documented procedures that ensure temperature requirements and adhesives. Workshops will have defined workshop bays, sufficient lighting for glass installation and calibration, and workshops must be cleaned regularly and provide a written process to monitor cleaning. The shop will also have a documented glass installation process.
When it comes to glass installation, FCGN’s minimum requirements include Ford calibration and HUD tools, use of the Ford OEM Workshop Manual, approved Ford software license and laptop computer, and use of Ford VCM3 recalibration equipment, and adhesives and primers that meet OEM specifications. A dedicated glass calibration technician must be on-site in the workshop, calibrations must be performed on-site or use a Ford/Lincoln dealership’s mobile calibration service, and follow Ford OEM procedures for glass replacement and recalibrations.
Benefits for Customers
Ford and Lincoln auto glass installed through the program will have a limited lifetime warranty. The warranty is between the technician and the customer. The Ford Glass Installer Locator guides customers to facilities with technicians who are enrolled in FCGN.
Benefits for Technicians
Access to the network allows technicians access to the Ford Workshop Manual with an annual enrollment fee through motorcraftservice.com. Technicians receive virtual training on Ford-approved calibration processes, and assessment by a third-party specialist. Access to technical support is available for certified technicians, as well as access to consumer education, digital, video and other marketing tools. Technicians will have opportunities to purchase or lease eligible Ford or Lincoln vehicles at discounted rates.