Mr. Fenton underscores that implementing these best practices will not only modernise the industry; but also provide benefits for operators.
“You can earn a profit by keeping your environment clean,” Mr. Fenton advised. “Throwing your waste on sidewalks or in the street will not benefit you, as it will drive customers away.”
His facility is among the four first garages to become certified Approved Auto Repairers (AAR) by the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA).
The new programme, which the JAA launched at its office in Swallowfield, St. Andrew October 27, seeks to raise the level of service garage facilities offer by ensuring that technicians are certified by the relevant training schools and institutes; and that they are competent to perform a wide range of duties. The initiative also aims to improve, among other things, facility upkeep by ensuring that the garages are safe, clean and meet environmental standards.
Setting his own example, Mr. Fenton has created value-added products by implementing minimum standards in facility upkeep and environmental best practices at his garage, which is located at 65 Old Hope Road in St. Andrew.
He invested in a 3000 gallon underground tank, which is used to store waste-oil from engines and other auto machinery. Waste-oil may contain poisonous metals which can be harmful to the environment and to humans. The collected waste-oil is then sold to the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited and Carib Cement Company Limited.
Similarly, instead of discarding old or unrecovered motor vehicle parts, he crushes the items and sells them to scrap metal dealers. ”We also recycle old cloths, plastics and batteries,” he outlined, noting that, “the batteries, which are lead potent, are recycled through an agreement with the Ministry Health and Environment and Tropical Batteries Limited, which stockpiles the batteries and returns them to the manufacturer to be recycled.
Fenton’s white-painted garage facility is cleaned three times daily; and it is carefully designed with electrical and air outlets at each work station, to reduce forming a web of electrical cords and air hoses, thus creating a clutter-free and safe work space.
The standard of your facility and your environment speaks to the quality of service you have to offer clients,” he maintained.
“As a facility which offers a wide range of automobile services, including auto body and collision repair; tune ups and servicing; as well as engine and gearbox re-building, we have to ensure that we employ highly qualified technicians and assistants to do the job. If there is anything we can’t handle ourselves, we call in the experts,” he added.
Fenton’s employs 12 permanent technicians, and most of them are certified. The garage is also a training ground for young mechanics attending the Jamaican German Automotive School, and Technical High Schools such as Vauxhall and Holy Trinity. The company accepts about ten students for training annually, as well as youngsters from the Swallowfield community, which is in the vicinity of the business. In addition, youngsters are referred to the organisation by charity institutions and church groups.
An advocate for establishing and maintaining standards, Mr. Fenton says the new programme by the JAA will set a new pace for motor repairers across the island and will clearly benefit customers.
“When somebody comes to my garage and they see the yellow sign: ‘JAA Approved Auto Repairer,’ they will not need to worry about the quality of the service they will receive, because it will be good.”
He noted that that the JAA programme was timely and that it would “bring garages up to the kind of standard that we want to promote across the industry.”