A Look Ahead
by Catherine Howard
We have arrived finally at the year 2001. And although some believe this is the true beginning of the 21st century and third millennium of the common era, its arrival was hardly noticed in comparison to the hype of 2000.
But when one stops to consider the meaning of time and our relationship to it, it is awe-inspiring to realize there are some living today whose lifetimes have spanned three centuries. And so it is with the automotive industry. It has endured three centuries, from the late 19th-century horseless carriages to the early 21st-century computerized machines that seem to drive themselves with their night vision and global positioning navigational systems.
Ever since unhitching the old nags from the front of the buggies, we have been racing headlong into the future. Although one no longer needed to be concerned with what the horses were flinging into towards the buggy occupants, it was soon discovered that there were still other road hazards to be dealt with such as flying insects, debris and inclement weather.
Well, the old nags are gone, but what about the new NAGS®? What will this year have in store for us?
For one thing, this will be the year that we focus on resolving the benchmark pricing concerns in Canada. It seems there are no easy answers to the question of pricing—anywhere.
As far as our print production is concerned, this will be the first year that the NAGS publications are totally synchronized. We will publish the U.S. Calculators and Catalogs three times this year (see sidebar for schedule), thus providing more timely vehicle/glass information while reducing the pricing updates. We are also publishing the second edition of the Air Bag Quick Reference Guide, this time with labor times to recognize the additional time requirements involved with airbags and provide a benchmark to allow for billing of this service.
On the database side, we have expanded the GlassMate® Database* with the recently introduced NAGS Flat Glass Numbering System™ for use in architectural glass estimating and invoicing. We are also preparing the database for Internet access and are currently resolving security and licensing issues.
On the software side, we will continue offering our GlassMate software for both auto and flat glass and will be evaluating expanding our accounting interface options to support other more robust financial systems in addition to QuickBooks®**.
But the really exciting news as far as we are concerned is the activities surrounding business-to-business electronic commerce over the Internet. Because Mitchell® is our parent company and is investing heavily in Internet technology, NAGS is able to take advantage of this commitment. Both NAGS and Mitchell are actively pursuing initiatives to create an environment designed to bring e-commerce solutions to business processes.
Because there are significant differences between the glass industry and the rest of the collision industry, NAGS will have an Internet entity (utilizing many Mitchell back-end technologies and processes) devoted to the special needs of the auto glass replacement market. Initial phases, beginning with testing as early as the second quarter this year, will focus on claims processing to support first notice of loss, policy verification, shop selection, program profiles, auditing and management information. Future phases will support parts ordering and other
supply chain activities.
2001 promises to be a very interesting and challenging year for many of us in this industry. We’ve come a long way in these last three centuries.
*NAGS®, GlassMate® and Mitchell® are registered trademarks owned by or under exclusive license to Mitchell International, Inc.
**QuickBooks® is a registered trademark and/or service mark of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries.
2001 Schedule of NAGS
|April||May 7, 2001|
|August||September 4, 2001|
|December||January 7, 2002|
Catherine Howard is vice president/general manager of National Auto Glass Specifications in San Diego, Calif.
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