by Bob Beranek

In recent months, an increasing number of people have contacted me concerning problems relating to glass parts ordered from the distributor. There have been misplaced and missing rain sensor brackets and lenses; mirror pads placed incorrectly, mouldings that are different and parts that are supposed to be there, but aren’t.

Today, I got a call concerning a Mercedes that NAGS says has a rain and light sensor. The rain sensor lens is supposed to be attached to the glass but it isn’t. What are we ordering? What is included? What are we paying for?

Here is the problem. NAGS issues a number to every new glass part reported to them. We use that NAGS number for ordering purposes. The glass is described to NAGS, usually by the vehicle manufacturer, as having certain characteristics (solar, solar-coated, acoustical, tinted, third visor, etc.) and certain attachments (mouldings, retainers and brackets for sensors). In the past, the attachments were usually limited to mouldings. The industry and NAGS helped us out by adding the abbreviation of “Y” for yes or “N” for no, as to having mouldings/attachments or not, at the end of the color code. It was a big help knowing when we have to order mouldings or when the glass comes with moulding already attached.

Now let’s go to present day. The glass parts we now get may have a number of different attachments included, such as brackets, rain sensor lenses, moldings, cowl retainers or pre-applied adhesives. The attachments on these glass parts, no matter how numerous, still carry the same abbreviation, “Y.” If a glass distributor decides that it will not include one or two of the attachments on a sophisticated part, the glass part number will still carry the “Y.” Now you see the problem. The shop owner cannot know what is included and what is not, except through experience with the part from previous installations.

For the glass distributors out there, my point to all of this is simple: Let us know what we need and sell it to us. If the installation needs a rain sensor gel pack, tell us if it is attached to the glass. If it needs a lower retainer strip that is not attached to the glass, tell us that and sell the retainer strip to us separately if we want it.  If it needs clips, have the clips available and tell us about them and sell them to us.

Do not assume that because you don’t sell a lot of an item, it does not need to be stocked. It may be that the technician didn’t buy an item because he didn’t know it was necessary. For example, I have been told recently that the rain sensor lens may be missing on the FW2336. It was attached to the glass on previous occasions, but now the lens is no longer included and the distributor didn’t have a replacement to sell the tech.

On other windshields it has been reported the lower retainer for the cowl panel is not included anymore. The distributor doesn’t carry the cowl retainer so the tech I spoke to had to salvage the retainer that was there, even though it was bent out of shape and wouldn’t hold the cowl down flush.

Here are my suggestions to eliminate this problem:

—I talked to NAGS about changing the part numbers and descriptions to reflect what truly is included with the glass. If you have specific feedback, NAGS needs to hear it.

Ask your distributor to stock the miscellaneous parts that are not included so the shop owner can purchase them at the time the glass is ordered.

—Glass distributors, inform your customers of what comes and what does not come on the glass you sell. You want your customers to use your excellent online ordering service so how about including the miscellaneous parts necessary to finish the job safely and correctly. You just might sell more products.

—Re-introduce the “interchangeability chart” started by PPG years ago. Include on the chart what needs to be adjusted, added or eliminated to make it work.

If some or all of these could be accomplished, then there will actually be a positive step toward good customer service and more profits for all parties concerned. After all, isn’t it the purpose of a good vendor/client relationship for everyone to work smoothly and efficiently so profits can be realized? So, how can we make that work?

Comments (5)

  1. daniel said on 02-05-2013

    In their rush for larger profit margins, importers simply “forget” to mention the provider/producer of the item. The technician awareness about the specific needs for a certain glass makes the difference between a quality job and a total failure. Latest vehicle models are provided with hi-tech gadgets which China made windshields won’t offer under proper conditions in the next short time. So, my humble oppinion is to take care about the item we order, to check thoroughly the part we recieve and to aim for a decent price that may provide a reliable glass. This will be a warranty for a good reputation, even it will take some time to be recognised by the customer.

  2. alan maupin said on 02-05-2013

    my suggestion would be to get another supplier we have seen this more at pilkington and pgw than any other suppliers. funny thing is they were to sell the brackets and attachments also, you can bet the insurance idustry will not pay for it simply because it is an included part. once again the suppliers are cutting us short on the parts but still charging premium pricing. example the other day ordered a premimun windshield for a mercedes (from pilkington) it should have had a rainsensor attachment and some other deal but instead there wasn’t any attachments at all, even though the part was marked gty. i called another supplier and it had all the attachments for much less money any ways. keep your eyes open suppliers are just hoping you will accept that crap they are selling. shop around. thought i would never say it but pilkington and pgw are terrible right now they give me the worse service than any one.

  3. Pat Frey said on 03-05-2013

    As a distributor this causes us the same frustration. We stock mouldings, clip packs, rainsensor gel pads & brackets where ever they are required. We also try to flag these parts as related items in our look up program for both our customers to see online as well as our CSR’s. The confusion for us is when a part is purchased and sold as a “Y” and we assume it contains the proper attachements, only to find out the part may have a moulding or be encapsulated but is missing the sensor. With all the new additions to windshields it is time for Nags to update the numbering system. Perhaps GTM for moulding, GTR for rainsensor ect.

  4. Rob Shanks said on 09-05-2013

    With the high technology of todays vehicles, these issues are becoming more and more common. When a windshield is supposed to have 3 or 4 attachments and only has1 but is still designated as a “y” part, it is almost impossible to convince the TPA’s to approve the extra parts. As a glass shop, you are a lot of times stuck paying for these extra parts. As for vendors designating which windshields require additional hardware, I must commend Mygrants online ordering. When you click the part it pulls up a list of pretty much any other part that may be required. It has saved me a couple of times!

  5. Jim Tremayne said on 25-05-2013

    The distributors may not have this information and are not in the business of installing so any information from them should be considered incomplete, as it often is. They will provide what information they can but should not be relied upon to have it all. The weight lies on the installer to be certain they have all they need before removing the first screw or clip on the job. Never be caught with a glass out only to determine you have no hardware for the sensor, or the bracket for the mirror is wrong. Almost every customer will be glad to reschedule and wait for the proper parts to arrive, but not a single one will be happy should you tell them you have a defective/wrong/missing part after the glass has been removed

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