Inside One Group’s Efforts
to Make a Change
by Penny Stacey
At the recent Auto Glass Week™ event in Memphis, Tenn.,
National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) president Kerry Wanstrath
presented some information the association has found in recent months
in the area of repair quality. The NWRA has conducted a good deal of research
about this issue and Wanstrath took the time to share additional information
with AGRR™ magazine about what the association is doing to focus on this
AGRR: The NWRA has been very focused on quality of late—what
brought this to its attention?
Kerry Wanstrath (KW): A very experienced
technician noticed that customers were telling him often that the breaks
he was repairing had already been repaired. The technician couldn’t believe
what he was seeing, but upon close inspection he noticed that in fact
some repair resin was in fact visible. The repair quality was so poor
he began to document his findings. He recruited other technicians in other
states to do the same and the NWRA began to create a database of this
AGRR: How long do you think repair quality’s been an issue?
KW: Well, there is no way of knowing
for sure how long this level of incompetence has existed, but I can tell
you it was still being practiced some six months after our study started.
My instincts say bad repairs have always existed; it is just that some
feel these are acceptable.
AGRR: Can you tell me a little bit about the study conducted?
KW: The study was brought about by
a level of repair quality that was so bad the technicians thought no repair
had been done. The data is still being collected and we see no reason
not to continue to do so.
AGRR: I understand you’ve located quite a few windshields
that were re-repaired—how did you go about this?
KW: Technicians who work in smaller
cities or towns did not want to give customers a bad impression of windshield
repair, so initially they re-repaired the previously poor repairs for
free. It takes a very experienced technician to do a re-repair, but the
simple fact that it can be done to the customer’s satisfaction says there
was no excuse for the poor quality repair. Many of these repairs were
straightforward, simple repairs. It appears to speak more about the attitude
of the company doing the initial repair, don’t you think?
AGRR: Do you think the problem lies with technicians
KW: That is a very complex question
and very sensitive, but I’ll say this, if the equipment doesn’t allow
for a technician to perform a repair to the industry-developed ROLAGS™
Standard, then the equipment could play a part. There are several key
parts of ROLAGS that play a part in performing quality repairs. If technicians
are unable to utilize these necessary techniques, quality could suffer.
Additionally, untrained technicians can be challenged to produce the best
AGRR: How widespread do you think the alleged problem
KW: We don’t think it is confined
to the states we surveyed.
AGRR: What do you think is needed to fix this?
KW: Verification of repair quality,
education, testing and certification is needed by an organization that
has repair quality and the consumers’ best interest in mind.
AGRR: What are NWRA’s further plans in this area?
KW: Just that, verification of repair
quality, education, testing and certification. We hope to have our program
in place on the NWRA website [in the coming months].
AGRR: What would you recommend technicians do on a local
basis to help with this effort?
KW: Start documenting the poor repairs
in your area; get the consumer’s name, license plate number and the name
of the company that did the repair if possible. If they’d like they can
forward the info to the NWRA and we can add it to our database.
“My instincts say bad repairs
have always existed; it is just that some feel these are acceptable.”
—Kerry Wanstrath, NWRA
What Do You Think?
Do you think the windshield repair industry has a quality issue on its
hands? Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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