IGA Issues Preliminary Statement about METRYX; Offers Suggestions
In today's Independent Glass Association (IGA) Beacon Bulletin, the IGA has issued a preliminary statement about LYNX's METRYX system. Though the association has opted to delay making a formal position regarding the database system until the board of directors can meet and decide what position to take, some suggestions have been issued to help ease concerns voiced by members of the association and others in the industry. The Bulletin as it was published follows, reprinted with permission.
August 2, 2005
At its upcoming Board of Directors meeting, August 24, the IGA Board will adopt a position on Metryx. In the meantime, here are some general thoughts based on our examination of the program, discussions with industry leaders, officials at Metryx and feedback we've gotten from our members. Over the next couple months, we will discuss specific features of Metryx in depth.
Metryx is a good example of why the auto glass industry needs to put aside its parochialism, cynicism, arrogance and all the other excuses it uses to avoid pooling resources and getting organized--because if we don't get smart soon, companies like LYNX will "out think" us - into the ground.
At the risk of feeding egos, Metryx is a stroke of genius. Even its timing is brilliant. It kills so many birds with one stone, we can barely keep track of them. It's sophisticated in its mission, but could prove to be the most insidious network invention --ever. There is potential for great advancement for the industry; there is potential for abuse. It may further empower the very forces to put you out of business, if that is their intention.
Dennis Liphardt, publisher of Lip Service, the collision industry newsletter, says, "Glass installers have almost lost all control of their business, now this could be the final straw that breaks the camel's back unless they look at this program very closely and are prepared to fight back if need be."
Should a registry such as this reside with a network which (a lot of shops tell us) is still very much in the business of disrespecting consumer choice, or more to the point, has a vested interest in which shops get which jobs or should it reside with AGRSS or a nonprofit certification agency like ASE which certifies auto mechanics? Problem is, it's too early to know. There have not yet been any abuses of your proprietary data, there has not yet been any manipulation of job distribution based on your marketing model, so we cannot reject the program on that basis.
Right now, we're thinking let's "wait and see" - but, we'd like to see Metyrx work in good faith with a "users' committee" that we can help establish to monitor the program and process industry concerns, suggestions, complaints and issues. We will send a letter to officials at LYNX inviting them to work with such a committee and their response will reflect their good faith to further professionalize the industry and make the AGRSS/ANSI standard real.
ONE MOUTH OR TWO?
Fact is, filling out a questionnaire is a good first step, but let's not act like it gets the job done. To get the job done, LNYX could contribute 25 cents/windshield and their insurance partners contribute a like amount to AGRSS so that AGRSS can set up and staff a dozen audit/compliance centers around the country which would make the program a meaningful contribution to quality/safety. Same for the ROLAGS (repair) standard when it's complete. Fifty cents/glass is about seven, one thousandth of one percent of the wholesale value of the glass they process. Maybe equal to their petty cash accounts.
We have another suggestion. Create a 2 tier network price schedule - paying an additional amount to shops registered and in compliance with the ANSI standard.
We have spoken to many shop owners who are leery about Metryx, so our position will initially seem politically incorrect to many. We respect your concerns and know they are real, but all things considered, our "wait and see" position is correct at this time.
Besides, we think they are doing this to compete with Safelite and anything which takes jobs from Safelite is good for the industry - in our opinion.
The big hole in Metryx is like the front row of the Grand Ole Opry. It has few teeth. Officials at Metryx say they need to demonstrate to the insurance industry that the program has value. Translated, that means the insurance industry could care less about quality unless they can profit from it. Too bad. As much unhappiness as you often feel owning a glass shop, imagine sitting in a committee meeting of insurance executives rejecting safety concerns because they cannot figure out how to make money from them. Perhaps Metryx has figured that out. We should give them some room to make it work.
One of the primary concerns expressed on the message boards is the potential to abuse proprietary information. While that needs to be closely monitored by a "users' committee," it's less of an issue than we might first have imagined. Nearly all of you are on the O & A program. Metryx will be populated by all O & A shops and if you compare what you have already given them to what Metryx wants, you will find they are not asking for a lot of additional pieces of data, so the additional information does not, by itself, rise to the level of making this program an unreasonable invasion of proprietary data.
We would, however, like to see them figure out a way to serve their purpose without having your technicians' names. If the names of your technicians can get in the wrong hands, your competitor can call them at home.
LYNX and their insurance partners write off more money "rounding off" to the second decimal than it would cost to fund AGRSS to audit compliance. We call upon LYNX to fund AGRSS or create an audit program to make Metryx real. It is clear to everyone that to date the networks and insurers have snubbed quality & safety. Now that the auto glass industry has completed 5 years of work, LYNX walks in and says, "Thanks for the work guys, but we'll take it from here" If they are going to profit from the standard, they ought to share the cost --as we suggest above.
As the industry changes, the IGA will respond with positions, action, answers, and leadership. Prepare for the future. Knowledge is power. Join the IGA. www.iga.org
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