By Paul Pirro, VP Dealer Operations and Vendor Manager, Tint World
Suppliers should mandate that retailers must have a certified MECP (Mobile Electronics Certified Professional) in their install bay in order to receive their products in addition to the requirement that the dealers must be authorized retailers.
The mobile electronics industry is one of the few professions that doesn’t require certification and it is hurting us in the long run. An installer/technician can work on a million dollar Bugatti and not be “officially” certified. However a nail technician must receive training and certification to service his or her clients. Does anyone else see the problem here?
We “as an industry” are never going to be credible as businesses (like other industries) until that happens. The only way this may happen is if suppliers do not sell to a store unless it has at least one MECP tech in the bay.
As many professionals post on social media and the forums, the majority of installers don’t have basic training on how to use a multi-meter or oscilloscope and the right tools for the job. This is the kind of training achieved in the MECP certification process.
Are manufacturers likely to risk pulling the plug on stores without MECP training and losing sales? Probably not. But I believe we should hold a “round table” meeting of all manufacturers involved and put our heads together to think of how we could positively motivate installers to be certified. This could take place during CES or SEMA.
The issue has become more pressing in light of a recent effort by car companies to bar consumers from working on their own cars. We, as industry, must be able to show that we are credible and knowledgeable, with real credentials.
12 car makers are lobbying to make it illegal to work on a car by claiming that a car is a mobile computing device, so that it would be regulated under the current Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If this occurs, working on a car could violate the copyright on the digital programming in the car’s electronics.
I recently worked on my show car and decided to use an aftermarket kit and harness thinking I’m going to do a simple swap of the head unit. When I went to take out the factory radio in the BMW, the SOS light came on. No one tells you it will do that; it’s not in the instructions for a kit or harness. With a BMW if you take the car in for service, unless the OEM radio is installed they can’t/won’t do service “software updates.” With the assistance of NAV-TV, we made fiber optic cables, and relocated the factory radio in the trunk in conjunction with the aftermarket deck. This allowed the vehicle to maintain a Dealership friendly situation.
I bring this up because with MECP certification and additional training an installer would have the basic knowledge, tools, and bandwidth to diagnose and fix these type of issues, which are only growing more frequent.
At Tint World we initiated a “no test light or probe” policy, as recommended in the MECP guidelines. We did this so the installers wouldn’t pop any airbags by mistake while by probing a wire and/or kill a CPU (onboard automotive computer).
This has eliminated previous issues that were faced in the bay, and is only one example of the benefit of MECP certification.
For retailers, an MECP certificate hanging on the wall behind your sales counter tells customers that your staff is knowledgeable and well trained, and it gives them a little peace of mind while shopping in your retail location.
For suppliers, it’s time to begin taking action to promote and further MECP certification.