Volume 13, Issue 6 - November/December 2011

Feature

The Main Event Auto Glass Week
A Look at This Year’s Unprecedented Auto Glass Week™
by Penny Stacey

"We’re back.” These words, spoken by Carl Tompkins of Sika Corp. during the opening ceremony of Auto Glass Week™ 2011, referred to the auto glass industry at large and were echoed by many throughout the three-day event, held in September in Memphis, Tenn. The historic event brought together all of the industry’s auto glass groups, the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS®) Council Inc., the Independent Glass Association (IGA), the National Glass Association (NGA), the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) and AGRR™ magazine for the first time all in one location. The International Window Film Tint-Off and Conference™ was also co-located with the event.

The gathering drew more than 1,000 attendees from all over the world, as far as Spain, Australia and Germany, and gave all an opportunity to participate in three days of educational sessions, along with a massive Exhibition/Extravaganza. Among the booths, AGRR magazine’s Pilkington Clear Advantage Auto Glass Technician Olympics and the Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics also were centrally located so attendees could view the events while also visiting.

“This is truly a historic occasion,” said David Rohlfing, AGRSS Council vice president, during his presentation at the event.

“We’re here—look at this,” agreed NGA’s David Walker. “This is the first annual Auto Glass Week where we’re all under one roof.”

“Sharing ideas is the point of coming together,” echoed NWRA president Kerry Wanstrath of Glass Technology.

“Now I can say, our future is bright with the spirit of the North American businessman,” added IGA president Alan Epley of Southern Glass and Plastics.

Education Time
Each day of the three-day event included numerous informative educational sessions, on everything from marketing to the newest cars and the glass they entail to the latest insurance information.

A popular session held on the first day addressed the hot topic of glass quality and featured William George of Pilkington North America and Mark Bulger of Pittsburgh Glass Works.

“The difference in quality starts with raw materials,” explained George, as he guided attendees through the various raw materials that make up the finished product—and the importance of the quality of each of these. In addition, other crucial components for quality include optical quality, surface control and edge quality. Pilkington also promoted glass quality during the exhibition/extravaganza (see below in blue).

Bulger addressed what retailers should do when they encounter problems; one item of importance, he said, is to be sure the code or monogram on the glass part in question is retained in some fashion. “When you contact us—Bill or I—you need that monogram,” said Bulger. “It tells us when we produced the glass and where we produced it.”

Automotive expert Ben Kelley of the Center for Product Safety shared the results of a preliminary study he conducted for the AGRSS Council about windshield retention, but suggested that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has “a ways to go in this” area. “The role of the windshield in maintaining vehicle integrity has not really been addressed by NHTSA,” said Kelley.

Kelly McDonald of McDonald Marketing highlighted the day with two sessions about marketing to new types of customers and the customer of the future.

An organization update offered a look into the current work of the AGRSS Council, the IGA, NGA and NWRA. During this session, AGRSS board member Bob Rosenfield of JN Phillips announced a major development, a name change for the group to the Auto Glass Safety Council as well as the purchase of the NGA’s auto glass certification program by AGRSS (see related story on page 30).

Kerry Wanstrath, president of the NWRA, spoke about the ROLAGS Standard, repair quality and certification. “Quality remains after price is forgotten,” said Wanstrath, after showing several photos of low-quality repairs. “The industry can use quality and certification to slay the giant, whomever that may be in your area” (see related story on page 36).

A session entitled “Insurance Update” featuring Michael Lloyd of California Casualty Management Co. and Melissa Kern of State Farm drew so many attendees that there was standing room only. Kern unveiled several changes to State Farm’s Offer and Acceptance Program (see related story on page 18) while Lloyd addressed high deductibles, its glass claims program and providing quality service. “Providing full disclosure and information to the customer goes a long way,” said Lloyd. “How many people do your customers tell when they receive poor service?”

Standards 101, Difficult Cars and More
The second day of educational sessions began with an update on the industry’s AGRSS and ROLAGS™ Standards by Bob Beranek, AGRSS Standards Committee chair, and Keith Beveridge, chair of the ROLAGS Committee.

He said the AGRSS standards committee has made several recent changes and, after a ballot by the committee, soon will submit the revised Standard to ANSI.

Among the changes is one related to retention and adhesive systems. While the original standard required that lot numbers and expiration dates be printed on appropriate products, the revision will provide that technicians only use systems that are labeled accordingly.

One change that generated a good deal of discussion is one that will require auto glass shops in compliance with the Standard to notify customers of safe drive-away times both before and after an installation is complete.

Beveridge spoke about ROLAGS and said it soon will see some changes as well, after some language “tweaking” that occurred in Memphis. He said the ROLAGS committee intends to get the document to ANSI by end of year.

Beranek remained center-stage for the next session, which featured the latest vehicles and the glass they’re using. He was accompanied by Scott Mason of Dow Automotive and Jeff Olive of Glasspro Inc. Several of the latest items popping up on vehicles were discussed, including acoustic glass, hydrophobic coatings, new generation heated and solar glass, exposed edge mounting, and electrochromic glass (look to the January/February 2012 issue of AGRR™ magazine for more from this session and a look at what’s coming in 2012).

Carl Tompkins of Sika Corp. debuted his book,“Winning at Business,” during a seminar titled “The Ten Commandments for a Successful Business.” Seminar attendees received a complimentary copy of the book. “Change is a must,” advised Tompkins. “ … Old habits do not create new business.”

Carlton van Putten of ContactPoint LLC wrapped up the day’s sessions with a seminar titled “Create Sales: Be Order Markers, Not Order Takers.” In an innovative approach, van Putten called auto glass shops anonymously from the session, utilizing speaker phone, and then critiqued the calls with audience members. One major item he discussed was the importance of tone. “You can tell a lot about a person from the way they sound on the phone,” said van Putten. “You’re going to use [customers’] names. You want to be eager. You want to enjoy the conversation, enjoying the interaction with the customer.”

The third day of sessions included one by Gary Hart of eDirectGlass, who spoke about the latest offerings from the IGA (see related story below in blue). In addition, Lauren Fix, “The Car Coach®,” spoke about reaching out to new markets, such as women and teenagers (see box below).

A panel featuring Gilbert Gutierrez of Equalizer Industries and Paul Heinauer of Glasspro Inc. looked at professionalism and customer service. Heinauer reminded attendees that even if a customer calls a shop unintentionally, being helpful can be beneficial in the long run. “We want our folks to look up the number the person needed for them,” offered Heinauer. “ … Customer satisfaction is becoming bigger and bigger.”

In addition to the wealth of educational sessions offered at Auto Glass Week, the event also included an Exhibition/Extravaganza each day (see related story below in blue) and was accompanied by the Pilkington Clear Advantage Auto Glass Technician Olympics and the Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics (see related story on page 26).

Auto Glass Week 2012 is scheduled for September 20-22. The location had not yet been announced at press time.

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine. Email her at pstacey@glass.com, follow her on Twitter @agrrmagazine, read her blog at http://fortherecord.agrrmag.com, and read her updates on Facebook by searching for AGRR Magazine.


“Change, Adapt,” Suggests Eruzione

Mike Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that rose to victory over the Soviets, offered a lesson in teamwork and adapting to change. During his keynote speech at Auto Glass Week™, Eruzione compared the challenges auto glass businesses encounter with those his team encountered as it prepared for the 1980 Olympic games.

“We didn’t just go out on a Friday afternoon and decide we wanted to play hockey,” said Eruzione. “It was a process.”

That process included adapting to new challenges. “If things aren’t working, find a way to fix them,” said Eruzione. “Change, adapt.”

Eruzione recalled the words of his coach, Herb Brooks, as he offered this lesson. “Check your ego at the door. Everyone has a job, and everyone has a role on this team,” said Eruzione. “It’s the same in business—you have to surround yourself with people who have the same goal as you.”

Even so, adversity will be encountered, and how a company handles it is key, added Eruzione. “When things aren’t going well, don’t dwell on the negative—find something positive about the situation,” he said.

Lastly, Eruzione encouraged attendees to look at their businesses and fellow employees like a team. “The values we had as a team are the same values you want to have in your business,” he said. “ … We’re all in this together.”


Car Coach® Lauren Fix: Reaching New Markets
Lauren Fix, “The Car Coach®,” offered a special seminar about several specific facets of marketing—including reaching out to potential female customers and teenagers.

Fix began the session by pointing out that nine out of ten women feel that they’re often “ripped off” by automotive repair shops, including auto glass shops, though according to Fix women actually own more than 60 percent of cars in the world. She offered specific tips on how to reach this market, pointing out that women make 85 percent of the buying and maintenance decisions and have veto power 95 percent of the time.

The first rule of thumb, Fix advised, is to remember that while many men communicate to reach a goal, women usually communicate to create relationships—and this plays a role in the business arena.

“It’s your company’s responsibility to educate potential customers and never talk down to [anybody],” suggested Fix.

She also pointed out that one of the main selling points of a quality auto glass shop—safety—plays a major role in women’s purchasing decisions.

“Safety and security sell,” she advised.

Fix, who said she became familiar with the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS®) through her involvement with the event, pointed out that educating women about the Standard and why safe windshield installations are crucial is key.

“They need your product and your service,” said Fix.

She added, “The car manufacturers have figured out how to sell to women, you need to also. You have to appeal to them, because if you don’t, they’ll go somewhere else. All they know is what they see.”

Fix referred to today’s teens as another “untapped market” and suggested auto glass businesses look to them as future customers as well.

“[Teenagers] have no information when it comes to what you do,” suggested Fix.

She added, “[Drivers’ education courses] don’t teach students about safety, they teach them to wear seatbelts,” said Fix, who suggested auto glass shops volunteer in local high schools and provide information to drivers’ education programs.

Fix also reminded attendees to pay attention to the changing market. “Are you in the right century?” asked Fix. “You’ve got to get this generation where they live.”

She recommended businesses turn to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Tumblr.com and StumbleUpon.com. “Everything can be tied together,” said Fix.


Exhibition/Extravaganza Offers Latest Products and Services to Help Technicians

More than 60 sponsors, exhibitors and suppliers displayed their newest products and services during the Exhibition/Extravaganza portion of Auto Glass Week™.

Many suppliers displayed products designed to make technicians’ jobs both easier and more organized.

Among these, Dow Automotive’s aftermarket division displayed its EZ Kits. “These are designed to provide all of the adhesives a technician needs for one or two days’ work in one simple package,” said Denny Noreikas of Dow.

Similarly, Creative Extruded introduced a tool box for moulding clips—available both filled and unfilled.

“We have a four-drawer unit that we’re going to be starting out with, and it’s a starter kit with the most popular clips and fasteners auto glass technicians will need,” said company president Brad Gross.

AEGIS Tools International’s booth contained several options for easing a technician’s job, including its new GlassHandlers®, which are designed for setting or removing windshields with an ergonomic grip.

“Before it was a fabricated steel configuration, and the new one is cast aluminum,” said AEGIS president Bob Birkhauser. “The handle has a slight ergonomic configuration to it, so it actually fits into the hand better than the old configuration.”

Sika displayed its SikaTack® MOVEIT, a cold-applied, fast-curing, high-viscosity urethane designed to provide a one-hour safe drive-away time in all weather conditions.

Glass Technology promoted its BluWave windshield repair system, which cures a repair under pressure utilizing a patent-pending ultraviolet LED technology. “People are looking for ways to enhance the quality of windshield repair,” said Rory Most, vice president of Glass Technology.

The Extractor displayed its 28V Hornet removal tool, which company officials say is designed to remove a windshield in four minutes or less without damaging the windshield, vehicle or installer.

Diversification Now
Many suppliers offered shops ideas for diversification, including GlasWeld, which displayed its new headlight restoration system.

“We worked with an original-equipment manufacturer in Detroit to develop a coating that’s identical to what’s used in the factor to coat original lenses,” said GlasWeld general manager Dennis Garbutt.

Burco promoted its redi-set-go® replacement mirrors with a pre-applied motor. This can be a valuable service for companies to promote, said Burco respresentative Elisabeth Mervenne. “From an end-user perspective, [consumers] don’t always know where to go when a mirror is broken,” said Mervenne.

Simplifying Installation
Simplifying removal and installation on today’s most difficult vehicles also was a trend. Glass Bot™ displayed its recently re-designed tool, which now is available in a cordless mode.

“In contacting OE manufacturers they weren’t too hot about having anything attached to the batteries of new vehicles, so we immediately went over to a cordless system utilizing a battery sources for the power,” said Rick Nelson of Nelson Marketing/Glass Bot.

Likewise, Equalizer displayed its new Cobra™ wire removal system, which utilizes a ratcheting process to glide specially designed cut-out wire through tough urethane with ease, according to the company.

A.N. Designs/UltraWiz introduced a new serrated cold-knife blade. The grinding of the serrations creates sharp points that pierce the urethane when pulled. The serration edge also can be re-sharpened.

Industry Know-How Equals Innovation
Innovation also was a popular topic at Auto Glass Week. Carlex, which recently purchased the Carlite business from Zeledyne, shared details on its SoundScreen acoustic glass product.

“Ford has really embraced the acoustic technology in their vehicles, and that continues to grow with the products that we
build,” said Tim Siterlet of Carlex.

Software solutions also were prominent. Mainstreet Computers displayed its GlasAvenue 8.0.

“The newest feature we have now is integration between a web-quoting tool and our software,” said Mark Haeck of Mainstreet. “If you have a website with Mainstreet and you have Mainstreet software, and a customer that gets on and gets a quote from your website and wants to schedule a job, it will go right into your point of sale.”

The IGA featured its new ClaimsVerse software system, developed in conjunction with eDirectGlass, in its booth. The company also offered a session on the system titled “Lighting the Way … with Technology.” The system focuses on the inspections that some insurers now require prior to authorizing auto glass work, and would require technicians to take photos of the damage they encounter and upload it to an online ClaimsHarbor system, which both insurers and consumers can later access.



AGRR
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.