by Bob Beranek
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I read in a glassBYTEs.com™ e-newsletter article called “Sika Recalls Small Batch of Sika Titan P2G”  that Sika recently recalled a batch of Titan P2G because of a contaminant problem. In their words ‘… the product may not sufficiently cure or harden, thereby creating a risk that the glass may not be fully secured to the vehicle.’ As I read the article I was reassured that our AGRSS Standard works and our industry’s vendors are professional and responsible corporate citizens.

I was proud that the AGRSS Standard gave our industry a motivation to record batch numbers and document installations. This guideline will allow us to now recall the installations performed with contaminated urethane and make them right. What a great feeling to know that our customers will now be protected thanks to a responsible safety standard.

I would also like to give a big thank you to Sika/Titan. These officials have shown themselves to be leaders who go beyond just the act of selling product. The cost to reimburse the retail glass shops for this recall will undoubtedly be substantial, but Sika/Titan officials understood their responsibility to the glass shops and to consumer safety and they did the right thing.

Now, for those of you out there that do not follow the AGRSS Standard or to those that follow it but fall short on keeping good records, let me explain to you what the ramifications are if you do not have the records to execute this recall.

You can’t determine who had their windshields replaced with a defective product. This means that if someone is injured in an accident because of a windshield failure, you have no protection from liability. You will absorb the entire cost of restitution and lost reputation.

If a customer returns with a problem of urethane adhesion or improper cure, the cost of fixing the problem is yours and yours alone. If you had records of the batch numbers, then Sika, according to its recall, will reimburse you for the cost of repair.

I was once told by a lawyer that, “if it is not in writing, it doesn’t exist.” Any protection you can give yourself will pay you back later. Develop the good habit of recording your batch and DOT numbers on every installation. It will pay off in the future.

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?