Life is full of little systems that make or break our day. A good system, well-planned and executed, makes us smile. A crummy system, thrown together in a hurry, without regard to planning and details, puts us in an angry and retaliatory mood.
Who needs that? Not you and not me. A great system will work to please both sides of any transaction, be it how long you have to stand in line to get your driver’s license renewal, the efficiency of your doctor’s office, how well your local streets are laid out for easier navigation, or coordinating auto glass work on your car or truck.
Have you ever noticed how the school play never gets started on time? Or that the temperature in the room is way to high or low? How about waiting forever to get your breakfast served to you at the corner cafe, only to get runny eggs, instead of over-easy, and to have the waiter forget your toast? These are all system failures.
Life is full of examples of well-planned and executed systems and those that are simply aggravating. Here’s the solution to one of them.
In the auto glass business, like so many others that are detailed and technical, customers don’t really want to know, or need to know how glass is designed, manufactured, distributed, or installed in their cars. They want a satisfactory end result and a fair value, leaving all the complicated stuff to the professionals who do the dirty work.
To accomplish the task, an auto glass company has to have an effective system, one that requires as much input from the customer as necessary to complete the job. Installing a new replacement windshield takes a lot more planning and time than running to the grocery for milk and bread.
Here are some of the things that must be known by the company before they can proceed to procure and install new glass:
*** Year, make and model of the vehicle. It’s surprising how many people don’t know these basic facts about their own car.
*** What options are included on the vehicle, like heated windshield, heated wiper park area, tinted glass, solar glass, solar coated glass, shaded tint band at the top or not, rain and condensation sensors, GPS, heads-up display, and others.
*** Whether or not the tint on the glass is an after-market tint film or whether it’s factory installed privacy glass.
*** Whether the customer prefers OEM glass, factory equivalent glass, or aftermarket glass.
All of those things must be known to the glass installer before starting the job. In the case of fixed-location shops, this is a fairly easy task because the installer can determine many of these things in person.
In the case of a mobile service company, more and more prevalent these days, the information must be known ahead of time, before the glass is acquired and the technician departs for the customer’s home. That means the customer has to supply the information and it has to be accurate.
As you can see, the more complicated the equation gets, the better the system must be engineered to cope with any possible situation.
A mobile shop orders glass from the distributor, after ascertaining the exact product needed. From the list of options above, you can see that there is a huge combination of choices. Carrying that many pieces of glass as inventory is a significant burden to a distributor and he won’t always have the part in stock. Transferring glass from one location to another means more time and complication.
To aid in maximizing efficiency in the system, the customer must play an integral part. Learning what options you have before calling the glass shop for service is the best way for the customer to contribute to their own satisfaction with the end result.
Take a notebook out to your car and write down what you learn from your observations.
The manufacturer’s sticker is usually on the driver door pillar and shows the year that the vehicle was made. It could also be under the hood, in the glove box, or in the trunk.
When in doubt, call your dealer and provide your VIN (vehicle identification number). It’s found on the manufacturer’s sticker and usually up on the dashboard, on the driver’s side of the car. You can read if from outside the vehicle. This number tells you what went into your particular car on the assembly line.
You can find a complete checklist on our website. Download it and use it to gather the information that you need to provide to your auto glass company.
Here’s another tip that will help the glass company achieve higher efficiency and, at the same time, it’s just plain courteous. Do all of your shopping before making a decision. That way, once you commit to using a company, you won’t have to backpedal and cancel your order because you found another company more to your liking.
As you can see from the complexity of the business, that disrupts the entire planning and scheduling system and introduces chaos into the company’s routine.
It also disrupts the other customers who are depending on the system to come through for them. Believe me, it’s not fun and there are special names reserved for thoughtless people who trample on a well-configured system.
Use this information not only for your next windshield installation or auto glass repair. Use it in every aspect of your life, to relieve the burden of those whose living depends on the efficient execution of a system to get the job done right and on time.