In today’s world of automotive technologies customers spend thousands of dollars investing in state of the art equipment for their businesses. In the automotive telemetry field these devices are used in fleets, generators, mining equipment, farming equipment, construction equipment and other assets used to generate revenue, or provide services. Many of the electrical systems on modern assets have become extremely sophisticated, and therefore it is important to only use experienced and qualified technicians. The days of just being able to probe wires with a test light are over.
There is a growing demand for qualified technicians. There is a shortage of official training programs, and there is no regulation in place to ensure only certified technicians are able to install telematics devices. The result is that the market is being filled with unqualified technicians. You are required to use a certified and registered electrician to have electrical work done at your home. This is a good thing as it ensures safety and standards. The irony though is that some of the assets that technicians install telemetry systems in cost the same or more than the average house, and has the potential to cause more damage from a safety perspective.
There is a shortage of official training programs, and there is no regulation in place to ensure only certified technicians are able to install telematics devices.
It is important that customers’ vet technicians before allowing them to install telematics devices into their expensive assets. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Check if the technicians have an MECP certification. The Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) program is owned and operated by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, and is a national recognized credential that certifies mobile technology installation technicians on automotive information technology, entertainment, navigation, safety and security systems. Not having an MECP certification does not mean the technician is not qualified to do installations for you. Some of the best technicians might not have the certification, but if you don’t know the contractor then the MECP certification at least provides some assurance that the technician studied installations techniques, and passed an exam. There are three main levels of certification, Basic, Advanced and Master. The Advanced and Master certifications are best suited for installing telemetry devices as to obtain this certification technicians have to prove at least 1 years’ experience performing installations.
- Verify how many years’ experience the technicians have installing telematics devices.
- Check how many years’ experience technicians have working on the type of vehicles.
- Ask for references and speak to similar companies that have used their services.
- Check if technicians have the required vendor specific certifications. Most vendors require technicians to complete product specific training and certification. Check with your telematics vendor what the requirement is and verify that your technicians have valid accreditations.
- Verify that you are dealing with a registered business (LLC, Sole Proprietor etc.), and that they have liability and workmans compensation insurance.
Once you have vetted the points above you should have some peace of mind that you are dealing with a professional installer, however this still does not guarantee quality.
Not having an MECP certification does not mean the technician is not qualified to do installations for you.
Quality workmanship is a virtue, however certain quality aspects can be trained and controlled through quality assurance procedures. Ask the vendor how they manage quality and ask for examples of their installation procedures. Don’t hesitate to perform spot checks while technicians are doing installations and ask questions.
The final but probably the most important point to evaluate when working with contractors is to establish how serious they take safety. A professional contractor should have very clear safety procedures in place, and technicians should practice these as if it is second nature. Ask your contractor for a copy of their safety procedures and spot check technicians when they are on your property.
Article written by Anton van Heerden, President of Vetecs - Vehicle Technologies.