Volume 15, Issue 3 - May/June 2013

Field of Vision
from the editor

Moving Forward Through Education
by Jenna Reed

After almost a decade covering the used vehicle market, including franchised and independent dealers, remarketing, auctions, automakers, auto finance and more for Auto Remarketing/SubPrime Auto Finance News, I find it fascinating to now be immersing myself in the auto glass industry. While I had touched on the auto glass repair and replacement topic before in how it relates to reconditioning vehicles for auctions, (as well as the work dealers do via their service arms), this is the first chance I’ve had to truly get a feel for the depth of the challenges this industry faces.

From my perspective, AGRR is a tough business that takes a lot of heart. As businesses in our society take on a more global, Wal-Mart-like perspective, being a locally-owned and operated glass company appears to be no easy task.

From third-party claims administrators and allegations of steering to tough pricing competition and consumers who just don’t need AGRR services often enough to know how the marketplace works, a big key to success in this business appears to be education. This includes education of employees, education of potential customers and educating oneself as to how to best operate under tight business conditions.

The employees of shops to whom I’ve spoken have to deal with everything from inspections prior to receiving insurance repair authorization to the decisions about whether to affiliate with a larger glass business’s preferred network. They seek out a way to provide the best service possible. There is a true thirst for knowledge in this industry. This is what impassions me to do my job. This is why I got into journalism—to go after the tough topics and help educate readers to all possible facets of an issue. There is never just one side.

Companies that have been around for many years remember the days when the auto glass business was lucrative. For those who were established in more recent times, a tight profit margin is all they have known. A business owner must have an eagle-eyed focus on how to eek out the best possible profits while keeping overhead costs low. This is no easy task when competition remains tough and gas prices stay relatively high; there is always something new to be learned.

Through my earliest forays into this industry a key way of doing this appears to be investing in personnel by hiring the best and brightest, training them to work under any type of weather conditions and have good knowledge, as well as retaining them so your investment is not lost to a competitor. It also means keeping an eye on any “big brothers” who are always out for new customers and have the budget to put behind large marketing campaigns.

My hope is that you find my articles both educational and entertaining. In my first full issue as editor, we have honed in on sharing some of the best new products and services to hit the market. Moreover, I take a look at the impasse that appears to be ongoing with the repair/insurance relationship. I also delved a bit into the fleet-servicing world, talking to ARI and Emkay about how their AGRR demands are met, as well as drilling down to a glass shop owner’s perspective on catering to fleets.
I will rely on you as the readers to help keep me informed as to what is happening on the frontlines of the industry.

I invite you to drop me a line—whether it’s a response to an article, an idea for a story or just to say “hello.” My email is jreed@glass.com. In the meantime, thank you all for the warm welcome and I look forward to learning more.

Jenna Reed is the editor of AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter @agrrmagazine and like AGRR magazine on Facebook to receive the latest updates


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