Auto Physical Damage

2020 Vision: A Look at Proper and Safe Glass Repair

December 9, 2019

Jack Rozint

Senior Vice President, Repair Sales, Mitchell, An Enlyte Company

As ADAS system components increasingly become standard on newer vehicles, running an efficient glass business while ensuring proper and safe glass repair is increasingly challenging. Glass installers need the best available tools to help streamline business operations and glass repair. Many continue to use Point of Sale (POS) management systems to improve efficiency, enhance dispatch services, bill more accurately and improve customer communications. Even small operators have found that these systems assist with many aspects of running a glass business including:

  • Improved ability to manage work schedules and dispatching
    • Quicker and more accurate repair quotes
    • Professional invoices that are accepted by both vehicle owners and insurers
    • EDI submission of repair invoices
  • Reporting to assist with business management
  • Improved ability to manage employees
  • Integration with popular accounting packages such as QuickBooks

Yet with all of these benefits, there are still numerous challenges facing glass businesses today that are not addressed in legacy systems, and which do not address rising vehicle and repair complexity.

Challenge #1: The Right SKU

The introduction of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) has made the glass installation business more complex than ever before. For those vehicles that have front lane departure ADAS systems where the camera points through the front glass, the replacement of a windshield takes on completely new levels of complexity. With a variety of window tints available on various option packages, and all of the variation in ADAS system options, there may be many more available windshield part SKUs for a given Year/Make/Model of a vehicle than in the past. Depending on which ADAS systems are installed, along with other vehicle options, it is not uncommon for a single year/make/model to have 20 or more possible different windshield SKUs. This can complicate the quoting and ordering process significantly.

Challenge #2: Following OEM Installation Procedures

Once the challenge of identifying the correct part is resolved, the next issue is to ensure that all OEM recommended procedures are followed for the installation of the windshield. With so many manufacturers producing ADAS equipped vehicles, and the installation procedure varying widely, it quickly becomes very difficult to access and follow the correct procedures on every vehicle, every day. The correct procedure can vary even within the same OEM’s product line (e.g. one model requiring a given procedure for the 2019 model and another 2019 model from the same OEM requiring a different installation procedure).

Challenge #3: ADAS Recalibration

If the vehicle I am working on has ADAS installed, I need to know if the work that I am doing will require a calibration of the vehicle’s safety systems. If there is a recalibration required, is it a static calibration—one that requires fixed targets—or is it a dynamic calibration that requires a drive cycle with a specialized scan tool to run the calibration routine? Once I know what recalibrations are required, if any, is this something that I can provide as a service, or will I have to outsource the work to a third party? These questions require both resolution and certainty.

Challenge #4: Staying Connected in a Mobile World

The fourth challenge is how to stay connected to the systems and information needed to address the first three challenges given a diverse workforce that is in constant motion and rarely tethered to a desktop computer. Accessibility is needed from any device—whether it is running iOS, Android, or Windows. You also do not want to worry about data loss, so having cloud storage is far superior to data stored locally on hard drives or local servers.

The Solution: Integrated Systems to Handle POS and Glass Repair Operations

Glass businesses need modern, cloud-based tools that leverage the latest functionality and data access to provide the benefits needed to survive and thrive in this challenging environment. Businesses need all of the benefits of a traditional POS system, with the additional devices and system integrations that help to solve new challenges, including:

  • Cloud-based systems that run on any device with a browser and an internet connection
  • The ability to access integrated repair procedures while developing the job quote, to help get the right part the first time, and to have the OEM’s step-by-step installation procedures at the technician’s fingertips throughout the process
  • Information within the OEM procedures on what recalibrations are required, and, if they are, whether they are static/target-based calibrations or dynamic calibrations
  • The ability to perform their own dynamic ADAS calibrations without the need to buy dozens of devices for calibrating multiple makes and models

The glass business is undergoing change that is unprecedented. Glass businesses will require new tools and new technologies to remain competitive, especially as ADAS systems and OEM requirements continue to make glass repair more complex. Modern tools, such as glass claims management software, that simplify business management functions and ever-changing repair data will not only improve operations, they will help to enable proper and safe repairs.