When your client has a cracked windscreen, it might be due to an accident or if it’s a broken rear window, it might have been an act of vandalism. Whatever the cause, you want to be confident that your client will be well looked after, and the repair will be done quickly - to the highest standard - using the latest technology and techniques.
The good news is, there’s a group of passionate people at the top of their game when it comes to vehicle glass repair. Smith&Smith’s® goal is to return every single vehicle to the road safely.
Managing director Michelle van Gaalen says achieving that goal starts with helping their people be the best they can be. “By looking after our people, we are looking after our customers.”
That’s why every two years the company holds its Best of New Zealand competition, in which six leading Smith&Smith® technicians have the opportunity to showcase their vehicle glass repair and replacement expertise, along with their customer service skills. Having undertaken rigorous pre-comp testing and assessments, the finalists are selected from a pool of technicians across Smith&Smith’s® nationwide network. It’s a coveted competition, because the technician who wins, qualifies to compete in the international event ‘The Best of Belron’ held in Spain in 2020.
With so much at stake it’s not surprising that on the 31st October at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland, there were six very nervous but excited technicians awaiting the sound of the hooter to start their first heat. Adding to the intensity, was a room of spectators made up of Smith&Smith’s® key clients, suppliers, employees, and the competitors’ supporters. The six finalists from around the country, including the first-ever female finalist, had to carry out a series of tests and challenges as judges closely assessed the quality of their work.
One of the challenges was a full windscreen replacement and calibration.
“Windscreens provide up to 30% of a vehicle’s structural strength, so ensuring the windscreen has been correctly replaced and fitted was a key part of the challenge,” Van Gaalen said, “Windscreens are no longer just for seeing through, but are a key interface with a vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)”.
Which is why a critical part of the windscreen replacement test was ensuring the technicians had carried out the proper calibration of their vehicle’s ADAS – a task that Smith&Smith® only allows technicians fully trained in calibration to undertake.
Van Gaalen thinks that most motorists don’t need to know the ins and outs of windscreens, but notes that making sure windscreens are properly repaired or replaced and driver assistance systems are recalibrated is critical to ensuring the safety of drivers and their passengers. It’s also important for insurance purposes.
All the technicians competed to a high standard, but there could be only one winner. Hamish Bedwell from Dunedin was crowned The Best of New Zealand and wins the chance to compete in the international competition Best of Belron 2020 in Spain.
Bedwell said it was such a big relief when the final event finished and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
“I’m really proud to bring it [the Best of NZ title] back to the South Island, but I think I’m going to have to shout lunch on Monday.”
Bedwell says: “There was such a huge feeling of pride among the Smith&Smith® team to see six of our best and brightest shine so bright in a pressure-cooker environment. And we know this wasn’t just for show, but how they perform every day of the week.”
Smith & Smith
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