Volume 13, Issue 1 - January-February 2011


Safety Stands

International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference Brings Together Auto Glass Safety Professionals, Experts, Insurers and More
by Penny Stacey

If you attended the 2010 International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference, held recently in Chicago, you probably noticed a factor common among all attendees. Not everyone there was from an AGRSS-Registered Company (ARC), not everyone installed auto glass and not everyone there was in the insurance or automotive industry. However, one simple, common tie brought attendees together—the importance of safety in all facets and placing the achievement of safety above all.

Those in attendance included representatives of ARCs and others considering becoming AGRSS-registered, insurers, various automotive safety organizations, automotive design experts and more.

The event was held October 27-28 in suburban Chicago (Oakbrook Terrace), Ill., at the Drury Lane Conference Center and began with several updates from committee chairs, a panel of automotive safety experts and the latest on the third-party validation program.

Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Consultants, who chairs the Standards Committee, updated the group on several possible upcoming changes to the AGRSS Standard, many of which have come about as part of the third-party validation program.

Jeff Bull of J Bull Associates, chair of the Membership Committee, also provided an update, noting that ARCs encompass 1,100 locations, spanning every U.S. state (with the exception of Vermont), Canada and Guam.

“I think everyone is seeing the value in becoming a registered company,” said Bull.

And he also stressed that all involved should market that value.

“We need to promote our value—all of us need to,” Bull added. “It’s very important to put that logo out there.”

Nik Frye of Glass America, the incoming chair of the Marketing Committee, premiered a new video designed to be shown to insurers explaining the value of registration as well. The video features Jon Fransway, a Minnesota insurance agent who lost his sister in 1999 as the result of an improperly installed windshield.

“It’s been quite a busy year for the AGRSS Council,” said Frye, who pointed out that 150 shops have been validated to date. In addition, the Council has re-designed its website, www.agrss.org, and the Marketing Committee is working to develop a newsletter for insurers and consumers.

“We want to help move this initiative forward for all of us,” Frye added.

“We need to promote our value—all of us need to.”
—Jeff Bull, J Bull Associates

A Common Goal
Several automotive safety experts participated in a panel titled “Safety—Toward a Common Goal,” during which they discussed their own personal commitments to safety in a variety of aspects dealing with auto safety.

First up was Rowland Day, CEO of WebSafety, a company that makes a technological solution for preventing texting and web-browsing while driving. Day spoke about distracted driving and pointed out that whether or not you utilize a cell phone while driving, others may be.

“It’s an intrusion whether you have it or not,” he warned.

Jill Braselton, a registered nurse who works closely with Safe Kids USA, spoke about child safety seat safety

Lessons Learned
Another safety panel followed, but this one focused specifically on the early rounds of third-party validations and lessons that have come from these. The panel featured Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive, chair of the AGRSS Education Committee, Jeff Olive of Glasspro, Penny Ouellette of Orion Registrar Inc., and Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass, chair of the AGRSS Accreditation Committee.

Malcolm launched the session by stressing that a business’s entire environment has to be safety-minded in order for the effort to trickle throughout the company.

“Technician commitment clearly comes from the shop,” said Malcolm. “You can’t tell your people they have to care about AGRSS if you don’t.”

And Olive pointed out that technicians need to be given the proper tools to be able to be compliant. “[You should] provide a timer to that technician so he can time how long he shakes that cleaner,” he suggested. “When you have to time something for a minute or five minutes, that time is a lot longer than you think.”

Binders also might be helpful, said Olive, as one noncompliance that’s come up is that an improper safe drive-away time has been given. A binder, prepared with a technician’s certifications and all the necessary information he might need, would be helpful in this case, said Olive.

Record-keeping also has been an issue in some cases. In others, lot numbers have been recorded, but they haven’t been tracked properly, Malcolm said.

“It’s important to ensure that the lot numbers being recorded are the lot numbers actually being used,” he added. “It not about just having a number; it’s about having the right numbers.”

Ouellette discussed what happens when a noncompliance is found. “If there’s a noncompliance, that doesn’t mean you have to leave the AGRSS registration program,” she said. “If there’s a problem, you work at it you fix it, you prove you fix it, and you move along.”

Three representatives of auto glass companies that have been directly involved in validation reviews also discussed their tips for preparation.

Gene Nichols of Guardian Automotive in Auburn Hills, Mich., echoed Olive’s suggestion with regard to preparing technicians. “Be sure technicians know where to reference what they know or need to know,” he said.

And working closely with technicians to prepare also is important—along with providing reassurance to them. “We tell these guys, ‘it’s complicated, but don’t get a bellyache over it,’” he said.

Ron Overbeck of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., advised that he found during the company’s validation review that the validators were very knowledgeable, but also calming. A mock audit—or several—can help as well.

“Do as many practice runs as you can,” said Overbeck. “It will help with your technicians and CSRs.”

Mike Paley of Freedom Glass in Richmond, Va., told attendees that following the instructions provided by the AGRSS Council for validation preparation is key. “If you follow those instructions step by step, it will get you through,” Paley said.

Marketing with AGRSS

A panel consisting of Nik Frye of Glass America, Dan Mock (who recently was named business development director for the AGRSS?Council Inc.) and Mike Schenian of City Auto Glass provided tips to attendees on how to market the AGRSS Standard on a daily basis.

Frye suggested that ARCs and all those committed to safety market the Standard even when they don’t realize they’re doing it. “I think you can find a way to market AGRSS whether you have sales reps on the street or not,” he said. “As an AGRSS-Registered Company, we promote the Standard every time we properly install a windshield.”

Offering a safe installation and promoting the Standard goes a long way. “An agent who has a happy customer is looking to replicate that job,” he said.

Frye suggested speaking about the Standard at local events and informing customers as well. “You become the expert on auto glass,”?he said.

Schenian utilizes the AGRSS logo on all of his company vans, in his advertising and more, and encouraged others to do the same. Notepads are particularly helpful, he said. “These are moving billboards,” added Schenian.

Day one of the conference wrapped up with the annual AGRSS charity auction.

Annual Charity Auction Raises $3,800
The AGRSS annual charity auction, held on the first night of the conference, brought in a total of $3,800 this year. Hot items this year included a signed, authentic Dick Butkus Chicago Bears jersey, which was donated by Chicago-based Glass America and won by company president David Rohlfing. Ron Overbeck of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., took home tickets to see the Chicago Blackhawks play. Tickets were donated by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™.

“We appreciate all who donated to the auction and all those who came and purchased items,” says auction chair Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass. “And next year’s auction will be even bigger and better.”

In addition to the above, a popular fishing trip with SIKA Corp.’s Carl Tompkins, hunting binoculars, a digital camera and several pieces of women’s jewelry also were auctioned off.







The second day of the conference The second day of the conference offered attendees the chance to see what goes on during an AGRSS Consumer Awareness Program (CAP). Insurance agents and other insurance professionals from a number of locales came out to earn continuing education credits at a two-hour course provided by Frye and Joel Timmons of Profitable Glass Solutions. The CAP was co-sponsored by two Illinois-based companies, Glass America of Chicago and Gerber Collision and Glass of Skokie, Ill.

Attendee Outlooks
Attendees say they left the conference with new safety information and more.

“It was good to learn all about the validations and how we can get our shops up to speed for a validation,” said Peter Brown of Tiny and Sons Glass in North Pembroke, Mass. “It was also helpful to learn about marketing the AGRSS Standard for our customers.”

“I really liked the roundtable—the guys that are up there are blazing the trail and the lessons that they’ve learned,” added Ron Maxey of the Glass Doctor of Northwest Indiana. “

Next year’s conference will be held as part of Auto Glass Week™, September 15-17, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Visit www.autoglassweek.com for more information.

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.com™.

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