Volume 11, Issue 2 -March/April 2009

Hard at Work
Auditing Firm Prepares to Begin Third-Party AGRSS Validation Program
by Penny Stacey

Last year, the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council Inc. announced that it would begin third-party validation during 2009, and, in November, the group announced that it had chosen Orion Registrar Corp. in Arvada, Colo., to administer this program. Currently, the two groups are working together to develop the program, and in the midst of this work, Orion president Paul Burck took the time to tell AGRR magazine about what’s currently happening behind the scenes to develop the program.

Q. Can you tell us what’s currently happening in the development of the program?

A. Throughout the recent time-span, we’ve been working on a lot of different things. Part of it for us is to learn more about the technical aspects and the business so we can design a program that meets the industry’s needs. We’ve watched a number of installations by different technicians and asked them questions.

What we want to do is understand the practices so we really understand the industry. Then we are going to sit down and design a preliminary audit program. The AGRSS Accreditation Committee will be determining glass shops in which to do beta audits in a high-humidity area and a cold-temperature area so we can understand the technology and things that happen so when we design the program for the auditors we will have seen the worst cases.Q. What are the challenges involved?

A. What we’re concerned about is that the program has merit. We’ve been talking back and forth on a lot of different issues. We want to design a program that has integrity, but we’re also conscious of keeping the cost of the program low. 

Q. How do you ensure that this isn’t an issue?

A. We have spent a lot of time on this. We really have to take it slow and understand and work with the different people. We’ve identified several action items and the AGRSS Accreditation Committee is working through these action items—areas we see as potential problems or areas of clarification. We’re also working on a new checklist that came from the committee. We want the program to be very transparent so we all understand the requirements. We’re still in the learning period.

Q. How are you currently interfacing with the AGRSS Council? 

A. We’re working hand in hand with the AGRSS Accreditation Committee to work out all of the details. Although the committee is giving us direction, we are doing some of our own research on the areas in which we excel, auditing and statistics. This is all the prep work that we have to carefully go through and think out so we have a credible program. AGRSS wants a program that is one of excellence but pays attention to cost.

Q. You mentioned that transparency is of concern. How are you working to achieve this?

A. Once we get the documents complete, we want to have transparency in the program so everyone can really understand what the program is about. Anytime someone else is watching you do things, the person being watched always will get nervous—we understand that. [The validators are] not going to measure technicians on something that has no merit.

Q. What concerns do you have when taking on such a project?

A. We’re concerned about taking the time to do it right the first time but realize, once we launch the program, there will always be things that need to be tweaked in the program the second round. We want the first round to be very successful.

Q. Once the program is complete, what type of people will be conducting the third-party validations?

A. We don’t expect the auditors to be technicians, but they need to have some basic understanding. That’s what we’re also determining—what kind of training program do we need for our auditors?

Q. Obviously you’re still in the midst of development—what’s the next step?

A. The next step is that we will put together a prototype. We want to do one for humid weather and cold weather and after that we’ll review lessons learned and then launch the program.

Q. When do you expect that to occur?

A. We hope to do the betas/prototypes in March, April and May with the hope of the first audit taking place in June 2009.

Q. Of course, many are nervous about this program. What would you say to re-assure shop owners and technicians?

A. The more transparent we can be, then technicians can say, “Look, if I am properly installing this windshield in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and the AGRSS Standard, I’ll be good.” And, in the event that someone does appear nervous, we’ll work with them. Our auditors are trained to deal with these situations and they understand how to settle nerves during an audit. For example, we might ask a second question to make sure the first answer was just a nerve thing.

At the end of the day the question is, can this person show us that he or she knows how to install a windshield properly? What we’re going to be concerned about is how you do all the steps and applications as required by the AGRSS Standard. 

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine.


AGRSS Registration Shines in Best Practices Seminar
Anyone who has ever doubted the tangible benefit of being an AGRSS-registered company need only to have attended a recent “Best Practices Panel” to have learned the real-life benefits of AGRSS-registration. The panel was part of the National Auto Glass Conference held in Orlando, Fla., in February.

The panel featured Tim Born, owner of Glass Doctor of Rome, Mike Dundich, regional manager for Glass America, and Jeff Olive, technician (and former Auto Glass Technician Olympics gold medalist) of Glasspro. It was moderated by David Rohlfing, president of Glass America.

“AGRSS registration provides uniform accountability,” said Olive. “It is a measuring stick and the difference between people who say they follow the AGRSS Standard and those who prove it.”

“AGRSS registration gives me a tangible marketing tool,” said Born. “We take the time to tell customers we are AGRSS-registered and we send them right to the AGRSS website (www.safewindshields.com). They can see right there that our company is listed.

“There have been many, many times when we are not necessarily the lowest price, but we get the job because we are registered and listed on the website,” he continued. “We have had agents call us up and say ‘well the guy down the block says he does the same thing,’ and I tell the agents to go look on the website. Because if the shop is not listed, they have no proof.”

“We promote AGRSS registration to our sales force, in our CE courses—and even the agents are interested,” said Olive.

“It’s had other side benefits,” added Dundich, “Our worker’s comp claims are down and our warranty rates are down—all since we have become AGRSS-registered.”

AGRR

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