Quality that counts
Written by Richard Barnett
With technology moving forward so quickly The Garage magazine’s Richard Barnett reminds independent workshops of the importance of investing in people and training.
We all know what it is, don’t we? But then again, how do you define quality? And when it comes to car parts, where the ‘q’ word is often bandied about, it can mean all things to all men.
So when it comes to choosing a high-quality replacement part for a customer’s car, what paramaters do you use to decide what’s a quality part, and what isn’t? Without doubt it’s a minefield, but negotiating that quality-issue minefield is important if you’re going to deserve the trust your customers give you.
So it has to be a good thing that the Original Equipment Suppliers Aftermarket Association (OESAA) has not only come about, but is now truly getting stuck in with helping independent workshops understand why original equipment parts makes sense.
Now, rather than simply talking about varying quality levels of parts available, the OESAA is backing Autoinform Live, a weekend–long conference and training weekend held at the GTG academy in Wolverhampton. Giving the two-day technical update added credence is top technical trainer Frank Massey, who will be giving delegates a chance to get up close to components with a ‘Hear it, See it and Touch it’ experience, as the OESAA dubs it.
Why do workshop bosses and technicians need to have such information? Surely they know the difference between a high quality, OE part and a cheap, not-so-good alternative? Perhaps they do, but which makes sense in the long run?
OESAA members, including Bosch, Mann Filter, Sogefi and ZF will be displaying their wares, but the chance to brush up on technical knowledge isn’t a bad thing either. Sadly too many technicians and workshop bosses are so busy working they have little time for catching up on the latest technical trends or reflecting on the elements of the business, and this weekend offers a chance to catch up and get clued-up too. Other companies signed-up include ADS, Sykes-Pickavant and Pico technology.
“Members of OESAA, which was formed last year to promote the benefits of fitting OE quality components and to ensure that workshops and distributors can make an informed choice when purchasing spare parts, will be exhibiting at the event,” the organisation says.
So how many workshops are expected to be represented? OESAA is already suggesting between 300 and 500, and listening to Frank Massey’s admirably positive approach this far off from the event, that shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve.
“All of our futures depend on providing the proper training to technicians and this event will bring together the people who make the parts and distribute original equipment components to the technicians who fit them,” Massey says. “We have been fighting for years to better educate technicians and the GTG Academy provides the ideal facilities for us to provide a ‘Hear it, See it and Touch it’ experience.”
Bringing together technicians and the parts suppliers is a great idea, and it would be good to see some motor factor involvement too so that the whole supply chain is represented.
OESAA chairman Nigel Morgan strikes a serious tone, and with good reason. While this isn’t by any means last chance saloon for independent workshops, they have to be more clued-up than ever before, and they need to demonstrate their knowledge each and every time they work on a customer’s car. And that knowledge is well demonstrated by the quality of parts a workshop uses.
“OESAA is delighted to support this event as we think it is vital that independent garages get the right hands-on training they need. We are a partner in AutoinForm Live, but it will not be exclusive to OESAA members,” he says. “It is our job to make this an interactive, must attend conference. If we don’t provide formal training and educate garages then the independent automotive aftermarket will fall behind. The garages who are willing to make a small investment in time and money to attend are the ones we want to talk to.”
The two-dayer includes not only hands-on demonstrations and trade stands but also diagnostics’ advice and hands-on demonstrations.
But if you’re thinking you don’t need to go along to this weekend, perhaps a quote from Philip Ellisdon of fuel injection specialist ANSU might make you think again. He says: “A lot of garages have grown up with certain standards, but unfortunately technology moves quicker than they do. They’ve got to re-educate and need to learn or die. They need to reinvest in their future.”
Now tell me you don’t need to attend.
For more information see: www.oe-suppliers.org
To attend the event contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re-produced with the kind permission of The Garage and MOT Professional magazine