AGRSS Council Details Validation Process, Attempts to Debunk Myths, During Webinar
September 24, 2009

The Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council Inc. detailed its new third-party validation process and attempted to de-bunk some common myths about the program during a webinar held yesterday. The program officially launched September 1 and the first validations will begin this fall. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

AGRSS marketing chair Joel Timmons led much of the webinar, which was sponsored by Dow Automotive, and started by offering some details on how the process will work-starting with notification of shops that will be validated.

"The notification process is very straight-forward," Timmons said. "You will get a letter from AGRSS 30 days in advance that will spell out your dates and times."

Once shops receive notification that they'll be validated, they'll also be asked to submit their deliverables packet-the same packet that has been submitted during past self-audits-to Orion Registrar Corp., which is administering the program.

The actual validation will begin with a meeting between the shop owner or manager, going over what will occur during the day.

Shops to be validated will be required to have at least one job scheduled for every technician on-hand-whether they are in-shop or offsite.

"Mobile installations are expected and are certainly acceptable," Timmons said.

Throughout the day, Timmons warned that the validator will take notes, but that this shouldn't discourage those involved in the process.

"The notes may not be negative-they may be positive," he said.

Once the validation is complete, the validator will have another meeting with the shop owner or manager-this time to provide the results of the validation and to identify any areas of non-compliance.

"You'll have an opportunity to correct those, or you may appeal," Timmons explained.

No matter the outcome of the validation review, Timmons said the results will be kept confidential.

Penny Ouellette, director of program development for Orion, also advised that the company actually picked that would be working as validators specific to the needs of the program.

"We hand-picked those who were familiar with your industry and those we thought would work best in your shops, and they're really looking forward to it," Oullette said.

Ouellete also detailed many of the aspects of the Standard at which validators will look during a review, and noted that they'll be asking questions throughout the process to make sure certain conditions are met.

"For example, for the open expiration date [of an adhesive], we'll ask technicians how they can be sure the adhesive hasn't been opened for longer than allowed," she explained.

She also noted the validators will carry a clock or stopwatch to keep track of time-sensitive items involved in the installations they observe.

"We'll validate the entire AGRSS Standard," Oulletee added. "We'll interview and observe all technicians, plus management, plus the person who orders glass and adhesives … and we'll listen."

Debunking Myths

Timmons also attempted to debunk several myths that have circulated about the AGRSS Standard and the third-party validation program. Following are a few of these:

  1. The validators and/or AGRSS want to find fault with your processes. "Absolutely not," Timmons said. "This is a banner day to have your processes confirmed to be compliant. This is a great opportunity for your peace of mind."
  2. You have no say in the final result. "You are part of the process," he explained. "We're there to work with you-not against you.
  3. AGRSS adds time to your installations. "That is mostly entirely false," Timmons said. "If a company requires you to shake a primer for six minutes, that is not an AGRSS requirement-that is a supplier requirement. The one area where AGRSS may add some times is in the paperwork, but, in the end, isn't it worth it?"

"Preparation is Key"

Glass America's Nik Frye also participated in the webinar and explained a bit about how his company is preparing for third-party validation.

"Believe me, it's not going to be luck," Frye warned. "Preparation is the key to this entire process. We're going on two years of preparation at Glass America."

First, he suggested using the AGRSS Validation Ready Worksheet, available on www.agrss.com. (CLICK HERE to download.)

"This is a great source to check through to see exactly what you need to have on-hand for the validators," Frye said.

He also advised a 19-page document discussing methods of preparing for validation will soon be available for download on www.agrss.com.

"You'll learn about Orion and what companies are doing to prepare for validation," he said. "There's a lot of tremendous detail in here, getting down to the nitty gritty of things."

Frye suggested shops focus on a few key items, such as:

  • Scheduling regular reviews of your company's training process;
  • Making sure all training materials and certifications are up-to-date; and
  • Verifying that all the deliverables required are up-to-date and are in your company's deliverables book.

He also suggested that AGRSS-registered shops appoint an AGRSS coordinator to organize the process.

"It's really critical that you sit down and make up a plan," Frye said. "Create a timeline if necessary."

Frye added that though a coordinator can help, everyone at the company needs to be involved.

"Include everyone in your operation in this process," he said. "Use the tools AGRSS has provided and your supplier to help you reach this goal."

A Call to the Industry

Phil Jentoft, Dow Automotive's commercial aftermarket manager, wrapped up the webinar urging industry representatives to promote the Standard everyday in their shops.

"At the end of the day, it's your Standard," he said. "You need to participate and get involved."

He added, "At the end of the day, you really have to ask yourself, 'What have you done to promote AGRSS today?' Have you had that dialogue on an ongoing basis with [customers] to really promote the Standard? That's incumbent on all of us to do and, if you're waiting on the sidelines for us to do it, I'm going to slap you on the wrist and tell you you need to get involved."

CLICK HERE to view the webinar in full.

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