Jason Moseley, Thatcham’s director of quality, has revealed that the organisation intends to push for improvements in quality, repair processes and service delivery across the sector. In a report aimed at repair organisations seeking Thatcham’s input in their quality assurance programmes, he stresses the need for four key standards to achieve consistent results – Man, Machine, Method and Material.
These relate to a commitment to competence in terms of skills, education and experience to ensure the quality of a product repair is not compromised. In addition, productives should have access to appropriate equipment, which is suitably calibrated and effectively maintained.
Thatcham also calls for processes to guarantee that suitable repair methods are available in the work place for all size jobs.
“We are fast approaching a situation where there is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ repair method,” says Moseley, who adds that, in terms of materials used, buying systems need to be in place together with standards of quality control.
A system of checks would be needed to augment this, however. Independent experts would be required to audit bodyshops, to enable businesses to identify necessary improvements.
“Thatcham believes it should play a pivotal role in any organisation or steering group involved in developing standards to ensure the essential technical and quality aspects are incorporated and are indeed valid,” he adds.
Moseley’s report coincides with concerns raised by bodyshops over potential liability for prosecution.
The Health and Safety Executive recently published guidelines for fleet managers stating that vehicles used for work must have repairs carried out to an “acceptable standard”, however there is no legal definition of that standard. The insurance industry previously required vehicles repaired to their “pre-accident condition”.