by Bob Beranek
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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?