Education, Certification and Quality
by Kerry Wanstrath
As I see it, the elements of education, certification and quality are
what will define the future for independent glass shops across this country
in the next few years. This is nothing new, as we have been focused on
these things for some time now … with mixed results. However, I feel the
forces of all the efforts of the various associations and many individuals
throughout the country are starting to align. Within the next few years
we will see the effects these efforts will and can have on those that
are not truly interested in producing a quality service.
Apart from the Pack
Those who are willing to step up their games and lead the industry to
higher standards will separate their companies from the rest of the pack.
Our job as industry associations and corporations is to make sure the
right people or agencies are hearing our story and the truth. To those
not involved within the industry, our story is so very convoluted and
complex it can be very difficult to understand how it all works and how
it ever got so complex and convoluted. It is a challenge to relay issues
to those in positions of authority or political office. These efforts
take commitment and time, determination and purpose, but I do see light
at the end of the dark and long tunnel.
The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) has just that kind of
determination and is working on several fronts to make the industry become
more competitive and fair.
We strongly believe that if you produce the best product or service you
will be noticed. That is, in part, why we now have a continuing education
program (CE) for our members. Those who are already certified might believe
they have all the knowledge needed for windshield repair. I challenge
even those with ten or more years experience to take our new CE certification
test and find out for themselves how their knowledge stacks up against
others’ industry knowledge. We are developing a master level for those
technicians willing to challenge themselves.
We are committed to adding more knowledge throughout the years to keep
those willing to receive the NWRA seal of excellence for their skill.
There are some who have openly rejected the industry-produced and ANSI-recognized
Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS™). To that, I respond:
Great, that only makes the task of separating those wanting to do the
best work possible a bit easier. The task is to convince the insurance
industry to recognize the special status for those service providers and
recommend to the consumer the most qualified shops or individuals available.
This task takes industry-wide cooperation, but getting certified is the
first step to show the insurance industry that there is a large number
of technicians willing and able to perform at a higher level than others.
The auto mechanics have done this successfully; I wouldn’t take my car
to a non-certified shop to have it repaired. We can do the same.
As with any battle to reveal our every move would be foolish, but I can
say this: there is hope for the small shops and those willing to separate
themselves through education, certification and quality. It has become
evident that size does matter, but bigger isn’t necessarily better in
the windshield repair business.
Kerry Wanstrath is the president of the National Windshield Repair
Association. In addition, he serves as president of Glass Technology in
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