July/August 2000

NAGS Notes

Bad, Bad NAGS

by Catherine Howard

 

Being in the middle of opposing forces is seldom an enviable position. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. At NAGS®, we often feel that we can’t please anyone any time, namely with our publications’ release cycle.

We used to publish the complete NAGS Catalog™ information once a year—the “domestic” half in the fall and the “foreign” half in the spring. Along with that cycle, we also published the NAGS Calculator™ twice a year. However, with the line between domestic and foreign becoming increasingly blurred (did you ever wonder what the Canadian and Mexican markets consider domestic versus foreign?), and with new cars coming out all year long, we made the commitment to combine the domestic and foreign catalogs into a single publication and release it twice a year. We did so because, invariably, as soon the printing press stopped running, new information was released by the manufacturers that would have to wait an entire year to be published. We constantly were getting calls and complaints about our “lousy, outdated books,” questioning why we were so stingy with new information. Bad NAGS!

The same was true for the calculators. Even though we were publishing them twice a year, industry pricing was very volatile. When suppliers’ costs/prices went up and the NAGS List Price™ remained the same, we’d hear about it from the glass shops that couldn’t recover their costs. If the dealer prices went down and our list remained the same, we’d hear about it from the insurance, fleet and rental company buyers who felt unfairly disadvantaged. Bad NAGS again!

We tried addenda and supplements, and people complained because they had to make sure they were looking at the most current price, highlighting the parts and updating the printed calculator by hand with the new addendum prices. So, we published the calculator quarterly.

Twice a year for the catalogs and four times a year for the calculators helped, but people had to pay more for the publications and nobody liked that. Bad NAGS!

To add injury to insult, one national program chose to evaluate its pricing offer at each release of our data. Bad BAD NAGS!

So now we are getting complaints that we are publishing too often. But (believe it or not), we are still hearing from others who say we can’t get new or updated information out to them quickly enough.

What’s the answer when too much is not enough? I’m feeling a lot like Goldilocks these days looking for “just the right” mix. Now we are thinking of moving to a thrice-yearly schedule for next year, combining the catalog and calculator into a single publication. This would mean new vehicle and part information three times a year instead of two, and pricing adjustments reduced from four to three times a year. Will that please anyone?

The real answer lies in the future with the wonderful advantages Internet technology brings. When the NAGS GlassMate® Database is fully available and accessible on our web server, we will be able to provide instant access to the latest and greatest information resource for the glass industry. We will be able to provide daily updates to all parts of the database including vehicle configurations, parts, prices, times, adhesives and more. When it comes to the mission critical information that you need to run your business, there is never enough.

  wpe3.jpg (1633 bytes) Catherine Howard is vice president/general manager of NAGS in San Diego, CA.

AGRR

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