As the motoring aftermarket opens up from 1 July, the Motor Industry Workshop Association has pledged its support in ensuring the integrity of servicing vehicles under warranty.
Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI) says MIWA welcome the implementation of the Competition Commission Guidelines. “Maintaining and improving standards within our membership base of just over 2 500 accredited and graded workshops countrywide has been a key priority for a number of years now.”
Ranft says all accredited MIWA workshops have to meet and comply with minimum criteria and set standards. “This is our customer promise so they can always be assured of good workmanship but also recourse should the job not be done to acceptable standards,” he says. MIWA has been very successful in implementing these high standards across its membership base.
Workshops are run by highly-skilled mechanics, with excellent service-levels, administrative support and quality parts and machinery and that standard is consistent across all of the accredited workshops. “Many MIWA members are highly trained specialists in their field, specialising in a specific brand or in a specific field, for example in the repair of electronic control units, and they will often work hand in hand with an OEM,” Ranft says.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on maintaining this high level and maintaining a zero tolerance to the growing culture of regulatory non-compliance in the motor vehicle repair industry. It is not only creating an uneven playing field for many accredited workshop owners in the sector, but also placing consumers at risk. The key for consumers, particularly with the market opening up, is to ensure you select an accredited workshop.”
He explains that during the accreditation process a workshop undergoes a thorough assessment. Aspects including the health and safety operating procedures are scrutinised as are the premises, equipment, administration, waste removal, staffing and so on. “Even aspects of the business such as parking facilities, lighting, ventilation and uniforms are inspected. The MIWA accreditation and grading process includes a document of proof of compliance to Health and Safety policies that members have to adhere to before they receive their accreditation. It is a rigorous process that we believe is essential to ensure customers know they are dealing with professionals and feel protected,” he says.
The level of staff training is also an important aspect of the accreditation process. “To achieve a MIWA accreditation, workshops have to prove their staff have sufficient training and on-the-job experience as well as specific qualifications to meet the needs of their customers,” Ranft points out.
Accreditation criteria also includes standards for tools and diagnostic equipment required to correctly perform the repairs as well as having insurance, such as defective workmanship insurance in the unlikely event of an incorrect repair, in place. “Workshops have to have guarantees and warrantees in place before accreditation can be achieved.”
Once accredited, a workshop can then enter into the grading process with an independent provider. Just like the hospitality industry, workshops receive a star-rating based on a specific list of criteria. “They are assessed according to criteria like tooling, administration, house-keeping, business premises and occupational health and safety. Added to this, workshops must adhere to seven mandatory fields before they receive their grading.
Ranft says it is an exciting time for the sector and for consumers. “Consumers just need to make informed decisions and do the appropriate due diligence when selecting a workshop. Any of our accredited workshops can stand up to scrutiny and then the consumer has the benefit of saving on the servicing and maintenance of their car,” concludes Ranft.