AW travel 3,000 miles across Britain

AW Repair Group’s ‘Keeping you moving’ slogan took a new turn recently with the company logo travelling 3,000 miles across Britain for charity.

The company sponsored the shirts of 24 amateur cyclists who took on the mammoth task of cycling from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London back to their base in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in aid of the Naomi Fund.

Little Naomi sadly passed away in 2000 aged two despite constant life laving operations and treatment for congenital heart defects, Tricuspid Artresia, ASD, VDS Woolf Parkinson White Syndrome and Pulmonary Regurgitation. The charity was set up in her memory by proud parents dean and Michelle Fardell and family friend Ben Benbow to raise money for the hospitals involved in her care, including Leicester’s Glenfield Intensive Care Unit.

AW Repair Group’s parts advisor Pete Agutter is involved with the charity and marshalled the cyclists with road support. “There was a great atmosphere the whole time,” said Pete. “People were hooting their horns and wishing all the riders well and even cyclists who were just out on a ride joined in at the back and encouraged them along as many of those taking part were amateur cyclists who had not covered such a great distance.”

The charity, which has held numerous events during the past years, are still awaiting to total the sum of all the riders’ sponsorship.

“We’re really grateful to everyone who supported the event and with just one puncture along the way we can truly say it was a great success,” added Pete.

                       

AW Sponsor Porsche

AW Repair Group was once again delighted to be main sponsor for Porsche Club GB Track Day for the 5th year running.

May sees the return of the eager Porsche owners to the prestigious track day held at Blyton Park Driving Centre, where however confident you are, you can enjoy a day full of high-speed laps on the track with or without an instructor.

With the drivers briefing at 8:30am it was an early start, however all drivers donned their racing shoes, helmets and overalls ready to head to the starting line, despite the scorching temperatures.

Thirty-five cars attended the event with drivers each offered three 15 minute sessions in the morning and only one ending up on the grass after a spin. Everyone broke for lunch, opting to sit outside to enjoy the unusual temperatures that hit 27 degrees (previous years have been extremely wet!), chatting about the circuit, their favourite corners and enjoying a bite to eat.

The afternoon saw an open pit lane using the outer circuit in Blyton, drivers took full advantage of this and pushed their pride and joy to the limit, many hitting over 100mph on the straights!
There was competition between drivers, who were thoroughly enjoying the day, however it was all in good fun with laughter when back in for a cooling off.

Blyton Park Director Richard Usher commented, “The days with Porsche Club GB have become a regular fixture of our calendar and we are delighted that the weather was so benign and that all participants had a safe and successful day. AW have been stalwart supporters of these days and we thank them for their continued involvement.”

AW was pleased to be represented this year by both Jade Johnson and new events assistant Alice Houldsworth, who is normally part of the AW First Response Team. A glorious day for her first AW event and looking forward to next year’s Porsche Track Day already!

Jade Johnson, AW Repair Group

Apprentice Paint Training at PPG

PPG provided first class training for two of AW Repair Group’s apprentices in a series of recent courses

Following the success of multiple AW paint technicians attending the PPG training centre for an advanced refinisher course, they chose to send two paint apprentices to the training centre in Stowmarket to further develop their skills.

James Dunn, AW Repair Group Operations Manager, found the training to be “a resounding success and one of the differentiators in the market place”.

The apprenticeship training took place over two days and featured both classroom and practical sessions from PPG technical experts to help the young technicians learn more about PPG products and application. The sessions included sanding of panels, understanding the correct application of filler, roll primer application and how to correctly prepare and apply basecoat and clearcoat products.

The dual-style approach also allowed the apprentices to work with PPG colour IT solutions exploring the TOUCHMIX® Mixing and RAPIDMATCH® Spectrophotometer devices.

Kane Hoe, VWG paint apprentice based at AW Repair Group’s prestige HQ in Sleaford, Lincolnshire commented; “I thought the two days were really beneficial towards my apprenticeship and my learning. The PPG experts Richard Pipe and Steve Beaumont were extremely helpful and made us both feel comfortable and confident in training.”

AW appoint Group Operations Manager

AW Repair Group is delighted to announce the appointment of James Dunn as Group Operations Manager.

James, who joined the company nine years ago as a branch manager, will now oversee the five site operation.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “As we continue to grow the business James’ focus will be on streamlined control of performance across the group. He has a vast knowledge and understands the business with a consistent track record of successful people, process and financial management.

“He has the ability and foresight to react to a changing environment finding solutions with an infectious positivity and pragmatic approach. I’m delighted he will be supporting our future developments in this new capacity.”

Latterly James handpicked the team to launch the group’s Nottingham Central site in Beeston which opened in January and tripled its budgeted first month turnover.

Said James: “I’m very ready for this new challenge and at the stage in my career where I hope my experience and enthusiasm will spread among the team. I’m very hands-on in my approach and driven to meet targets, SLAs and monitor performance to ensure we continually deliver what is expected from us. I’m looking forward to further developing relationships both within and outside the business.”

James (40) received the Personal Development Trophy at the Nottinghamshire Business Awards during his time as general manager of AW Repair Group’s Newark site. He joined the bodyshop industry at the age of 16 and continues to retain his VDA accreditation.

Remembering Melvyn Rushton

Yesterday we lost a wonderful member of our team, Mel Rushton. Mel’s contribution was unquestionable and the news of his sudden death has shocked us all; we feel a deep sadness about this gentle, well liked, cheerful character who always had a smile. Mel quickly became a valuable member of the AW Repair Group team. Our hearts go out to his family, children and all the people that knew him at this sad time.

Andrew Walsh
AW Repair Group

Mel Rushton

AW Repair Group open site 5

AW Repair Group’s newest site opened its doors on Monday this week and is a reflection of the group’s continued commitment to utilising the most up to date repair technology.

The facility is located on Beeston Business Park, in Beeston, Nottingham, just three miles from Nottingham City Centre and on the city’s tram route. With junction 25 of the M1 just 20 minutes away, the site has easy access into Derby and Leicester.Before and After

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “We have transformed this empty shell into a fully functional bodyshop in just three months. The site looks absolutely superb and we have further improved on bodyshop design and layout for maximum efficiency.”

The 13,300sq ft purposely designed bodyshop enjoys the unique perpendicular skate and rail system from Junair which creates a super-speed paint and prep area and enviable working environment.

IMG_0835-134With a double length full downdraught spraybooth easily accommodating two vehicles or one vehicle and off car panels, different colours can be painted simultaneously without cross contamination.

Together these facilitate a faster and more efficient throughput of vehicles enabling between 12 and 14 vehicles to be painted each day.

The welcoming open plan reception and offices feature the company’s striking blue and orange corporate identity, LED lighting throughout and branding to mirror AW Repair Group’s four other sites.

General Manager of the site James Dunn commented: “I have seen this building transform and it’s all credit to Andrew who has again brought in another AW Bodyshop on schedule.

“We’ve a very experienced hand—picked team here at Beeston with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

“We are looking forward to delivering the AW customer experience with our unique philosophy – we move aside traditional bodyshop processes for a new way of delivering a great customer service experience.”

Other facilities and equipment at AW Accident Repair Centres (Nottingham Central) include: fully secure parking with CCTV for 60 customer vehicles; PPG refinishing system; 10 meter Junair drive through paint booth with LED lighting, QUAD drying system and skate & rail system; 12 module Minden Dust Extraction with integral three phase; Inverta welding; Synergic welding; Nitrogen plastic welding, PowerTec Panel Repair System; Blackhawk Mini Post 111 Quick Pull System; 3 mid-rise scissor lifts; eco friendly radiant heating; LED lighting throughout the entire building; Advance Bodyshop Management System.Beeston123

The branch is expected to achieve its BSI status next month.

The latest addition to AW Repair Group is preparing to open its doors early January

The fifth site is located at Beeston, Nottingham, three miles from the city centre and just 20 minutes from Derby city centre. With easy access to J25 of the M1, the branch strategically spreads the group’s coverage further to the west.

Following AW Repair Group’s business model, the new site has been purposely designed in 12,500 sq ft premises formerly occupied by Siemens Communications.

Brand new offices have been added in the company’s open plan style, with corporate blue and orange scheme and familiar brands headline the equipment.

Junair products have again been chosen including a 10m double booth with end loading skate and rail system for even faster throughput, Blackhawk pulling equipment and Minden Dust Extraction.

Founder and Managing Director Andrew Walsh commented: “While we are not adverse to acquisitions, our business model and organic growth has been successful in establishing new sites where the AW ethos takes flight immediately.

“Many of the personnel are already working within the business at other sites learning our processes and procedures in readiness for the January opening of AW Nottingham Central.”

Continued Andrew: “We have followed demand and the support of existing work partners who are seeking quality bodyshop space in this area which neatly overlaps the radius covered by our Newark and Markham Vale branches. Markham Vale, which opened only 20 months ago, is just 40 minutes further north along the M1 and Newark just 40 minutes to the south.”

General Manager of the group’s Newark site, James Dunn, will be taking the reigns at Beeston whilst continuing to oversee his current assistant Dan Gwyther who will manage the day to day operations at Newark.

Commented James: “I have seen first hand how AW Repair Group develops a culture where individuals are encouraged to move through the ranks and I know Dan is eager to take on his new challenge too.”

Continuing the trend of operating names incorporating site coverage rather than town name AW Beeston will trade as AW Accident Repair Centres (Notts Central) alongside Markham Vale (Derbs) Newark (South Notts), Denaby (South Yorkshire) and Sleaford as AW Accident Repair Centres (Lincolnshire).

 

AW Repair Group extend brand

Manufacturer’s choose AW Repair Group to extend brand

TWO new vehicle manufacturer approvals have been appointed to AW Repair Group.

Honda and Hyundai are the latest brands to join the group’s expanding manufacturer approvals portfolio, which now lists more than 10 top names including Volkswagen Group, Jaguar LandRover, Lexus and includes structural aluminium.

AW Repair Group was approached by both Boston Honda and Lincoln Hyundai who cited confidence in quality workmanship and customer service as the reason behind their new choice of approved repairer.

Both brands assessment criteria also requires BSI 10125 accreditation which is already held by AW branches.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh commented: “It is always a pleasure to be approached by dealerships seeking a quality approved bodyshop to be an extension of their own brand.
We are very conscious that not only do we represent AW Repair Group but also all those who place their trust in us to deliver a service on behalf of the brand chosen by our mutual customer.

“It is our ethos to establish at the outset what elements of the repair journey are most important to each individual and deliver a tailored response to exceed expectations. That could be from choosing their own book in date to 24 hour communication through our mobile app.”

AW Lincolnshire based in Sleaford and AW South Nottinghamshire based in Newark will be appointed the two new manufacturer approval programmes.

Final Day of the Electric Car – Day 7

Day 7

So now the children are fighting over who can go out in the Leaf next and debating if actually they could drive the car themselves! They love it. Despite the debacle yesterday, which I reiterate was all caused by my own stupidity in not switching on the wall socket, I’m still very positive about the EV. Infact the writing could be on the wall for Flash (my yellow Audi S1 Quattro). I would urge you to give an electric vehicle a try. What’s the worst that could happen (errrm, see day 6). Regular day to day driving is simply easy and practically free. A longer trip needs a little more planning but hey, once upon a time, we used to look up the route using maps before setting off!

The Nissan Leaf.. It really is plug and play! I can’t think my 9 year olds will be driving anything other than an electric vehicle in 8 years time. As one son nonchalantly put it: “At least there won’t be any wars over who owns the oil to make petrol anymore.” What more can I say. EVs rock!

Electric Car – Day 6 (Day sent to test me!)

Day 6 

Oh my goodness. Today must have posed every possible problem. Just a quick trip to Grantham on an overnight charge I thought, no problem, only to find I had plugged in the car in the garage and failed to turn it on at the switch – what an idiot! So 23 miles of charge for a 30 mile round trip. I programmed the destination on the Sat Nav which told me there was rapid charge point at the A1 Moto. No problem! Let’s give it a try I thought. So with 8 miles remaining I pulled up at the 4 plug charge point – these ones managed by Ecotricity. It was throwing it down with rain – but I braved the weather to read the instructions (well I didn’t have much choice if I wanted to get home again!) I needed to download the Ecotricity App. Fine. And unlike Chargemaster there was no minimum top up but a 30 minute rapid charge would debit my credit card with £6 and give a 75% charge. Still cheaper than fuel and with my own overnight stupidity it had to be done.

There were two different charge leads attached the machines, neither of which appeared to fit the socket on the car. Wishing I had checked that out first! After getting drenched I noticed that there is actually another charge socket next to the one I had been using at home on the car disguised with a black plastic cover. So I popped it off and with relief the charging lead socket fitted fine. The machine lit up and started a 4-step checking routine on its screen. After step one a message appeared “initiation failed”. Oh dear. I jumped back sopping wet  into the car and rang the Ecotricity helpline.

They were fantastic. They knew from the charger ID where I was and connected to the machine to find out what was wrong. I was on hold for a few minutes and then told I’d not plugged it in properly and to try again. With a phone battery now waning I asked them to call me back in a few minutes when I’d had another try in the rain.

Another member of the EV community was charging his Renault next to me and kindly came to my rescue with an umbrella. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve had this before and the Ecotricity people are very helpful.” I explained they had been very helpful but I’d not plugged it in correctly. So he had a try for me and, oh dear, my knight in shining armour seemingly broke the charge handle which now wouldn’t release. I jumped back in the car and my phone rang. Ecotricity had called me back. I explained the problem. “Don’t worry, we’ll do whatever we can to get you charged up and if absolutely necessary the AA will collect any stranded EV user for free and take you to the next nearest operational point.” Wow, that is good service. I had 8 miles on the  clock and knew Marshall Nissan, with whom AW has partnered in this power adventure, was nearby with a chargepoint.

But then my Knight wound down his neighbouring window. “I’ve finished my charge now, let’s swop places and I can help you.” The man in his late 50s has had his electric Renault for about 3 months and had an amazingly large umbrella! We swopped places, started the whole routine again and bingo! Success. If this had happened first time I would have been on the same cloud as yesterday. The machine whirred up, the blue charge lights came on and we were in business. I went into the Moto for a coffee and dry off and by the time I was back in the car there were only 5 minutes left to charge. Note all power has to be off while charging so no listening to the radio or charging up your phone while waiting. The charge closed off, my app pinged to let me know to unplug. Back into the rain and, oh no, I can’t unplug the socket. This really was becoming the worst day ever but I was determined to push to my limits if only to be able to demonstrate the worst case scenario in this blog for you lovely readers! With some jiggling and wiggling of the handle (similar to a petrol pump handle) I realised the tip of the handle had slipped inside a rubber sleeve (yes Ecotricity had mentioned that earlier on the phone, I recalled). Pulling back the sleeve released the handle and the socket came unplugged.

Very wet again I got into the car, albeit somewhat satisfied I had survived and now had 63 miles of charge.

I opened up my phone notepad and typed in the following

Essential EV kit list:
Large golfing umbrella
Mobile phone charger
Both leads
Raincoat
Pen & paper

I then went into town and bought a very large umbrella!

So ok, not a great experience today, but my own fault for not checking the charger was switched on in the garage last night. I hope you had a chuckle reading this and it spares you from going through the same. Nissan have also confirmed that it is correct that the AA will collect any stranded EV driver free of charge.