by Emmariah Holcomb, Tara Taffera and Kyra Thompson
“Spoiler alert, we’re not altering the NAGS methodology,” said Debbie Day, general manager and executive vice president of Mitchell Auto Physical Damages.
“I would rather take an inexperienced employee with a good attitude over someone with experience who doesn’t take directions,” said a participant at a roundtable session.
“The theme here is clarity, you have to break down your sales on your profi t net loss,” said Justin Krane, financial keynote speaker.
“If I was installing windshields why wouldn’t I add this? People are going crazy for it. Next year we will be ordering bleachers for our booth. We have had 10 people in here at once and have been taking orders,” said Bill Owen, Nano Liquid Solutions.
The comments highlight a few examples that show the diversity and multitude of educational opportunities that take place each year at Auto Glass Week. And we didn’t even mention calibration. All of the news on that can be found HERE
Attendees learned a variety of specific information related to auto glass but were also educated on driver safety issues by Russ Martin, director of policy and government relations for the Governor Highway Safety Association. He mentioned the various issues the group is working on including distracted driving, drug impaired driving, issues involving teen habits, ADAS technology and more.
“The future of transportation will look a lot like it does now,” said Martin. “Yes there will be more technology but we will still have all these human behavior problems.”
NAGS Isn’t Changing
Back to those industry specific announcements, and the fact that Mitchell International will not be making changes to its NAGS methodology.
“Last year, we mentioned it and we should have listened first. Many people were asking us what we were going to change and we didn’t have an answer for that. We realized that we should have listened first before announcing any possible changes,” said Day.
She highlighted the expected technological advancements in vehicles and how that will impact insurance claims.
“Soon vehicles will be able to know it’s been in a collision before the insurance companies do… It is our responsibility to get the information in everyone’s hands to keep everyone safe,” said Day.
Wayne Krause, director of National Auto Glass Specifi cations (NAGS), and Day introduced the Cloud system, which stores information in a digital format that can be accessed at any time, they said.Krause also mentioned that the information provider values its integrity highly when questioned about why NAGS was not going to change its methodology.
“After two years of consultation with the industry we will not be entering any changes into the NAGS benchmark pricing. There was a fear of disrupting the industry and that was something we did not intend on doing,” said Krause, “so we are not.”
While the NAGS session may have been one of the most talked about seminars, the auto glass industry roundtables had the most talk, literally.
Engaging with Peers
The roundtables, back for a second year, saw eager attendees engaged in conversations with their peers about important topics.
Individuals packed the room to discuss issues involving labor shortages, working with insurance companies, marketing tactics and calibration.
“We found that you need both installers and re-calibration technicians to really be effective,” offered one industry professional.
At the labor shortage table, one attendee said he would rather take inexperienced labor with a good attitude over experience that doesn’t take directions.
“We’ll work with them, maybe even create a spot for them if they are willing to put in the effort,” he said.
Each day during the event there was a “Morning Coffee With …” session for those early risers who wanted to start learning with their first cup of Joe. The sessions were designed to provide a relaxed environment for auto glass owners and managers, especially those with less than fi ve years in the industry, to receive advice from experienced businesspeople.
Corbin Archer, the president of Glass Mechanix Solutions, spoke about getting up-close and personal. Archer stated a good business model can be created by asking three crucial questions about the services you provide and how you provide them.
What? The first thing to establish is the foundation or “the gears” as Archer called it. He advised attendees to be specifi c about what they do and do not provide in their business and not to bite off more than they can chew.
Carl Tompkins, retired strategic manager at Sika Corp., held a session he referred to as a quest for success. He said the reason for the quest was to “bring it all back to where the business started.”
Tompkins urged business owners to ask themselves why their businesses exist.
The answer, he said, could be outlined by three words; vision, mission and values.
Peter Brown, president, Tiny &
Sons Auto Glass, shared his marketing success and how other auto glass companies can make some of these tactics work in their local markets with sensational results.
Finding the Right Products
A variety of sponsors showcased their latest products, which of course included calibration equipment, for those products, see this page. Other auto glass suppliers offered everything from adhesives to tools, coatings and more.
Equalizer showcased its SafeLift, which aids in safe installations that are easier on the body. “A lot of people are interested in it,” reported Gilbert Guttierez, global education director.
SafeLift is a powered installation system that allows a technician to remove and install windshields, panoramic roofs, backlites, and even body panels without a second technician. It features a remote-controlled lifting operation, and provides technicians with full mobility without heavy lifting and strain, according to the company.
Another setting tool gaining a lot of interest was the ProSet, which is designed to mimic an installer’s natural setting motion. It allows the technician to set from either side of the vehicle, from the hood, or the door glass. The company says this product takes the stress off of the technician’s body and guarantees an accurate set with ease.
“We had lots of interest in the tool, and met with a lot of techs, “said Jamie Foss. “It can be used on every vehicle.”
Sika showcased its Sikaforce 315, a two component fast setting polyurethane adhesive designed for bonding small components, such as mouldings, clips and rearview mirror tabs.
“It’s very fast and sets in 45 seconds,” said Russ Livermore, vice president marketing. “In five to ten minutes it is fully cured. People love it.”
The company also showcased its PowerCure adhesive, designed to be used in conjunction with the PowerCure dispenser. Livermore said the adhesive offers a 30-minute safe drive away time, and is fully cured in 60 minutes. One of the competitors even competed using the product.
Dupont showcased its BetalSeal Express +, which the company says has better decking and tooling advantages than the previous version. It can be used on any vehicle for the same cost as Express.
Sekisui was a new exhibitor, and produces PVB for windshields and side glass. The company showcased its technology in development such as acoustic and solar control. It also ran demos so attendees could see the difference between “regular PVB and their product.” They also had a virtual reality display set up where people could experience the difference between acoustic and non-acoustic applications.
Many companies offered demonstrations on the show floor, including SRP which showcased its scratch removal system. “There has been definite interest,” said Jeff Falconer, sales representative.
The same was true for Glass Mechanix who had frequent demos and unveiled Omega EDI and its robust VIN lookup which it also demonstrated for attendees staying busy throughout the event.
Vitro’s Eduardo Rivera talked about the company’s 16 plants and its continuing expansion. “We plan to keep growing in the U.S.,” Rivera. “We have new products each month, a new distribution center in Dallas and a new website.”
Mainstreet spent time informing people of its services. Mark Haeck, sales manager, said the company now offers social media management.
“People think they can do it themselves,” he said. “But it’s a natural add-on for us.”
“We are going home with a lot of leads,” he added.
This is all a part of the company’s complete suite of technical services including a 24-hour call center.
Many showcased opportunities that would give auto glass companies additional revenue streams.
“There are so many sunroofs on cars it’s a good opportunity for a new revenue stream,” said Brandon Davis, sales manager for Sunroof Express.
He said it’s much easier to install sunroofs on the newer vehicles but sometimes companies are stuck in the old school mentality.
Nano Liquid Solutions offers an add-on item for auto glass shops too. Its windshield protection product utilizes a long lasting formula that chemically bonds to glass and won’t rub off for up to four years, according to the company.
“If I was installing windshields why wouldn’t I add that?” asked Bill Owen, president. “People are going crazy for it. Next year we will be ordering bleachers for our booth. We have had 10 people in here at once and have been taking orders.”
Improving Your Finances
Justin Krane, president and founder of Krane Financial Solutions, has worked with small business owners for years, and shared some of his “simple financial formulas.”
“Ask yourself how often you think of the following things,” said Krane.
He was referring to net profit, which he said “needs to be 10% or more of your gross profit.” “If you don’t deal with your money, eventually your money is going to deal with you. It’s better to get a good understanding of where your business is at financially at all times. I would recommend getting QuickBooks to help you figure out your expenses as a guide. But be sure to stay consistent. So basically you shouldn’t be mixing personal and business expenses because that can cause issues for you down the line during audits,” Krane said.
“When you want your business to make more money you don’t want to think about getting a loan or raising the money,” said Krane.
He mentioned you have to get more profitable based on where you are at right now, which means you must have:
• An accurate set of books;
• Additional help (a bookkeeper who
is not yourself);
• A CPA;
• Fractional CFO; and a
• Financial advisor.
“The theme here is clarity, you have to break down your sales on your profi t net loss. You do this so you can see where the money is coming from. I know that you know this I’m just reminding you to do it,” said Krane. “You have to take personal responsibility in order to advance your financial life. It’s not about return on investment, it’s about return on life, it’s about being smart and having clarity and believing you can be the best,” he added.
Competitors Bring Their Best
The fi nal rounds of competitions featured returning champions, newcomers, and this year, two men and two women were in the final round of the GlasWeld Windshield Repair Competition—one of them a husband and wife. Below is a list of winners.
Pilkington Clear Advantage Auto Glass Technician Competition
1. Macenzie Curbow of Novus Glass in Kennewick, Wash.;
2. Collin Walton of Don’s Mobile Glass in Merced, Calif.; and
3. Travis Crebs of Techna Glass in Taylorsville, Utah.
GlasWeld Windshield Repair Competition (WRO)
1. Alfredo Calva of Alfredo’s Auto Glass in Corona, Calif.;
2. Suzanne Allan of Allans Glass Co. in Round Rock, Texas; and
3. Macenzie Curbow of Novus Glass in Kennewick, Wash.
Auto Glass Customer Service Representative (CSR) Competition
Rose Williams of Mel’s Auto Glass in Crescent Springs, Ky., took the Gold, a spot she also claimed in 2017.
Auto Glass Calibration Competition, sponsored by Opti-Aim™
Josh Bradley, owner, Clear Choice Auto Glass, took Gold for the second year in a row.
Curbow competed for the first time—and placed in both competitions. Calva took home the silver WRO medal in 2017, so this was his year for Gold. His wife Susan also made it to the finals, making it a family affair.
Installer Creates Unique Wire-Out Tool
Collin Walton, of Don’s Mobile Glass in Merced, Calif., along with Jacques Navant, technical director, saw a need for a wire-out tool that wouldn’t damage or scratch a vehicle. They went to work and five-and-a-half years later the “Frog” was born. Walton was recognized for his invention during Auto Glass Week 2019 when he was presented with the Ingenuity Award, which recognizes technicians who create unique products that advance the industry.
The Frog is a smooth operating tool for easy, safe and damage free removal. In fact, Walton placed third in 2018, and second this year while using the Frog during the Auto Glass Technician Competition (AGTO).
There’s talk about getting the tool into distribution but Walton said he’s trying to find the best way to go about it. He is undoubtedly getting more interest, now that others saw it in action. He said watching it work makes a big difference.
“A lot of people see it’s a bigger frame but once they see it in action they are impressed,” said Walton. “It’s a lot faster, doesn’t slide across the glass, and doesn’t move. That is something that intrigues people.”
The duo also invented a companion for the Frog, dubbed the “Tadpole.”
“It’s a suction cup with a pulley on it to remove quarter glass. So it’s a smaller one to be used in conjunction with the Frog,” he said.
Walton was surprised when presented the award, and was immediately overcome with emotion.
“When you put so much work and effort into something and get a lot of negativity from other techs who don’t want to move toward new styles and new methods it’s frustrating,” he said. “So to put in that much effort and get recognized it was really overwhelming.”
Attendee Drives Away in New Truck
Sherry Hagar of Good Guys Glass & Auto in Kirksville, Mo., drove home in a brand new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT. She was the winner of the highly anticipated truck giveaway, now in its second year. Eight attendees lined up at the show’s closing to find out whose key would be the one to start the brand new vehicle.
“I am so excited,” Hagar said after winning. “We will probably have to wrap it a little, and put our new calibration business name on it that we just started.”
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