Volume 14, Issue 1 - January/February 2012

Repair Round-Up
nwra reports

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.

Continuing Education
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 Durango, Colo.

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