AGRSS Moves Toward "Ultimate Destination" with Today's Webinar
Carl Tompkins, chair of the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard Council (AGRSS) accreditation committee, today called third-party validation "the ultimate destination" of AGRSS during a webinar held to update industry representatives-including both registered and non-registered shops-on the status of this endeavor.
"Phase 1 required companies to simply state, 'I will be compliant,'" Tompkins told attendees via an hour-long webcast. "We then moved on to Phase 2 in 2005 and remain in Phase 2 now. Phase 2 elevated the merit of registration by creating the need for registered companies to say, instead of 'I will comply,' that 'I do comply.' It caused registered companies to get more involved in proving their compliance with 49 procedures, and in addition, eight deliverables were required. Now, Phase 3, which begins in early 2009, allows us to arrive to the ultimate destination, because we will provide our customers what no one else has ever been able to deliver-that is, third-party validation, or, if you will, third-party proof that we do what others can only talk about."
Tompkins also reminded attendees that while registration fees may increase with the addition of third-party validation, that registration also will become more valuable.
"Registered companies are going to enjoy Phase 3, not only from the power of differentiation that it brings, but just as importantly, how the process is being built to support companies who want to play by the rules," Tompkins said. "The only companies that won't benefit from Phase 3 are those whose walk is different from their talk."
He also noted that the more companies who become registered, the cheaper that registration will become under a third-party validation system.
"Mathematically speaking, the higher the number of registered companies involved, the lower cost per company for the program," Tompkins added.
Tompkins also shared some of the ins and outs of the validation program, such as how minor violations will be treated (they can be corrected during the initial visit), along with major violations of the Standard, which will require a return visit from the validators. The violating company also will be required to fund the return visit from the validators, and, if the violation hasn't been corrected, will not be allowed to re-register with AGRSS for an extended, yet-to-be-determined period of time.
"Anyone who wants to enter our industry is welcome, but now there is a benchmark that might be proven," Tompkins added. "While AGRSS is not being promoted as a licensing program, it does provide the benefits of licensing."
Tompkins was one of four speakers on the call; joining him were AGRSS Council chairperson Cindy Ketcherside; Nik Frye, AGRSS compliance officer for Glass America; and Jeff Olive, technician trainer for GlassPro in Charleston, S.C.
Frye suggested that in an effort to prepare for third-party validation that shops begin conducting internal audits, holding meetings solely to discuss the AGRSS Standard, and distributing the validation checklist among staff. (The validation checklist will be available beginning next week on www.agrss.com.)
"If you have not started preparing, start this process now-today," said Frye. "Internal training will be a key to passing validation."
In ending, Frye added, "By successfully validating our AGRSS compliance, we will send a loud message to those who cut corners."
Olive explained the importance of involving technicians in the preparation for third-party validation.
"The more information you provide to your employees, the less resistance you're likely to encounter from them," he said.
Olive also suggested specific steps, such as participating in extra training from adhesive manufacturers, reviewing corrosion treatment procedures, documentation procedures and more.
"AGRSS wants you to be compliant," Olive added. "AGRSS wants you to be the first choice in auto glass."
Ketcherside moderated several questions from audience members, who numbered 500 and were from across the world, including all 50 states, and though time ran short, advised the rest of the questions received would be answered next week on www.agrss.com.
In ending, she urged participants to also come to the Auto Glass Safety Conference, which will be held November 5-6, 2008, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. (CLICK HERE for more information.) The validating firm, which is scheduled to be chosen in October, will be on-hand at the conference, along with Council members, to answer further questions about the program.
Need more info and analysis about the issues?