Volume 9, Issue 1 - January/February 2007

Safety First

AGRSS Conference focuses on the important role glass plays in the vehicle
by Charles Cumpston 

The second annual Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSS) Conference was held in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center early in November as part of Auto Glass Week. It focused on safety issues and the industry’s forward movement in bringing attention to these issues.

Cindy Ketcherside, AGRSS board of directors president, opened the two-day event. She said that in her more than two decades in the auto glass industry, one of the most important changes she has seen is the increased emphasis on safety. The AGRSS Council has played a role in the awareness of auto glass replacement to safety, she pointed out.

The AGRSS registration process has moved from ‘I will’ to ‘I do’ and will implement a training program the first quarter of this year, Ketcherside told attendees. “We’re going to show that we can make a difference,” she added. “AGRSS shops are not a commodity.”

She then introduced the keynote speaker Byron Bloch, an independent consultant in automotive safety and vehicle crashworthiness. (For more information, see the interview with him in the November/December 2006 issue of AGRR.)

“What you [people] who are AGRSS-registered are doing is marvelous,” he stated. “AGRSS has safety in its name. I have fought to avoid needless death on the highway. There has been progress in my several decades in the industry,” he added, “such as air bags, but we still have a long way to go. But as auto glass replacement specialists who do quality work, you help to avoid that injury to the victim in the first place.”

Bob Birkhauser of AEGIS Tools moderated a session on standards following the keynote address, which turned out to be a discussion of industry installation concerns focusing on removal and reinstallation (R&R) and corrosion.

Industry Issues
Bob Beranek, Automotive Glass Consultants Inc., discussed salvaged glass. “The question is always asked, ‘Do we use salvaged glass?’,” he stated. Some insurance companies have put pressure on body shops to use it, he explained. He said that this could be done, according to an AGRSS ruling, if the salvaged glass is free of obvious structural or objectionable flaws, is installed with the retention system compatible with the OEM design, and if the adhesive manufacturer’s application instruction permit its use in this situation. He allowed that no adhesive manufacturer’s application instruction currently permits its use at this time.

Steve Coyle, Auto Glass Specialists Inc., then discussed removal and reinstallation (R&R). He made the point that if silicone has been used for a previous installation, it will be incompatible with the urethane and that is a danger sign. He also said to leave the existing part in place, if possible, until it is time for the re-installation, because stripping the existing urethane bead and then waiting for the installation gives time for contamination.
Coyle also suggested taping off the floor of the pinchweld after the primer application and curing. The point was emphasized that technicians have to go back to the adhesive manufacturer to get its recommendations for previously installed parts.
Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive Aftermaket spoke about corrosion. “As with the R&R situation, the information you’re getting here is the litmus test,” he told attendees. “The AGRSS Standard tells you what the answer is. You can call the adhesive manufacturer and ask for more explanation, but the answer is the answer and it’s in the Standard.”

He emphasized that glass cannot be installed safely over existing corrosion and that the owner/operator must be notified of the condition. “Treating corrosion is not a normal part of glass installation,” he said. 

The final session of the first morning was a discussion by Glen Moses, Safelite Glass Corp., of new vehicle models and the challenges they pose.

The first afternoon of the AGRSS Conference got underway with an overview of the insurance industry by State Farm’s Bob Bischoff, who is in charge of the company’s glass program. The part of his presentation that generated the most excitement was the announcement that the company was starting a customized offer program. (See interview article on page 32.)
The remainder of the first afternoon was devoted to understanding the new AGRSS self-audit program and the registration process and training.

Attendees broke into two groups (already AGRSS registered and non-registered companies) for this session. The registered companies heard Carl Tompkins, SIKA Corp., discuss the new self-audit program. For non-registered companies, Cindy Ketcherside, Jean Pero, Mygrant Glass, Charles Turiello, Diamond Glass Companies, and Mike O’Hara, Salem Glass & Mirror, discussed the AGRSS registration process.

Day 2
The second day of the AGRSS Conference got underway with two sessions on AGRSS registered companies’ available programs and services.

The first session included a discussion of software technology by Gary Hart, eDirectGlass, and Mark Haeck, Mainstreet Computer. John Trigardi, After Market Autosystems, spoke about add-on service and profit opportunities for AGR retailers, specifically diagnostic and repair services for water, dust, and wind leaks. 

In the second session, Chris Umble, LYNX Services, and Dave Zoldowski, president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA), discussed how their organizations are branding AGRSS. 

Zoldowski’s presentation focused on the IGA Internet-based directory which is designed to serve as a job referral network for independent shops. He said IGA is promoting AGRSS registration on the site, www.autoglassrepair.us.com. 
Umble’s topic was his company’s METRYX industry services registry. “We have tried to take a pro-active role in promoting AGRSS registration and its value for businesses and for consumers,” he told attendees.

The final session in this year’s AGRSS Conference was a discussion of how insurance companies view safety with State Farm’s Bob Bischoff and Doug Smith from Allstate Insurance.

Smith, the claims procurement specialist in glass for the insurance company, discussed 15 points in the company’s Service Level Agreements Supporting Safety. These included training, the maintenance of written records including customer signature, providing a written warranty to the customer, maintaining appropriate insurance, and abiding by local, state and federal laws, regulations and requirements. Services and products have to meet all FMVSS federal motor vehicle safety standards. “Our experience is that most companies want to do a good job and make a safe installation,” he stated, adding that many of the conditions on the list were also part of the AGRSS program.

Bischoff said his company’s policy is that every installation has to be safe. “There are safety provisions in our O&A agreement,” he stated. “You, the glass shop and technician, as the experts have to take responsibility for a safe installation.”
This year’s AGRSS Conference will be held October 31-November 1 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. 

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