Behind-the-Scenes DCR Systems Tour Sponsored by AirPro Diagnostics, AkzoNobel & Car-O-Liner®
Members of the collision industry recently had an opportunity to tour the DCR Systems location in Mentor, OH, prior to the July Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Cleveland.
Founded in 2004 and owned by CEO Michael Giarrizzo, DCR Systems is known for its progressive thinking and operating in a process-centered environment.
The company helps dealerships outsource their auto body shops by having DCR team members run daily operations while being co-branded with the auto dealer. Currently, DCR Systems operates nine production cells in seven dealer-based collision repair facilities in four states: Ohio, New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
The tour was sponsored by AirPro Diagnostics, AkzoNobel and Car-O-Liner® and included transportation, dinner and a behind-the-scenes look at the Mentor facility.
Pictured, left to right, are John Eck, GM; and Darrell Amberson and Jason "Buck" Zeise, both from LaMettry’s Collision, Glass and More.
Sponsors Showcase DCR Systems Mentor, OH, Facility
“One of our core principles at AirPro Diagnostics is education and includes educating the repair community on safe repairs and processes,” said Michael Quinn, president of AirPro Diagnostics. “Knowing Michael Giarrizzo and his family for over 20 years, I’ve watched DCR Systems evolve into what it is today---a process-oriented operation. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to share their highly-disciplined approach with the industry at large in attendance at CIC.”
Quinn said the event was very successful and included leadership from multiple organizations, including vendors and representatives from GM as well as other auto body shops.
“They were extremely impressed with the operation and took notes,” he said. “It was great working with the other sponsors to put this together.”
“As a long-term partner with Michael Giarrizzo and DCR Systems, AkzoNobel thought that while the industry was meeting in Cleveland for CIC it would be a rare opportunity to showcase what Michael and his team have accomplished,” said Nada Jokic, business consulting services manager for the West Region at AkzoNobel. “The feedback was extremely positive as many had heard of DCR but few had actually seen the systems and facility in person.”
Tim Ronak, senior services consultant for AkzoNobel, said the ability to share information about DCR Systems and the processes that support proper repairs aligns with AkzoNobel’s desire to educate the industry.
“Process-centered environments are the key to optimizing throughput efficiency while ensuring an OEM repair methodology is central to repair decisions,” said Ronak. “Michael Giarrizzo has created a repeatable and documentable process to support OEM procedure repair methods and is successfully executing with this model daily.”
Pictured, left to right, are Jeff Hendler, J.D. Hendler/Associates; K. Michael Bradshaw, K&M Collision; Todd Hesford, Mission Viejo Auto Collision; Kye Yeung, European Motor Car Works; Amber Alley, Barsotti’s Body & Fender; Tony Adams, AkzoNobel; Tim Ronak, AkzoNobel; and Jordan Hendler, Admin Concepts.
Doug Bortz, sales manager of Car-O-Liner, North America, said the company welcomed the opportunity to sponsor the event, which was overwhelmingly attended.
“DCR Systems and Car-O-Liner have a long-standing relationship based on one synonymous philosophy---to create efficiencies that contribute to healthier work environments and better customer service,” said Bortz. “There is a continued desire for industry notables to participate, learn and share insights to elevate industry processes and ultimately serve all collision repair shops and customers at the highest level.”
DCR Systems Team Shares Process Efficiencies
After gathering for an Italian dinner, DCR Systems representatives took various groups through the facility highlighting the many process efficiencies they’ve developed and implemented into their daily work environment. Attendees also viewed the Symach equipment used in the facility.
Giarrizzo said Symach technology offers a very predictable and accelerated drying process that helps workflow run more consistently.
“We are proud of our team’s vision for this industry, and it was an honor to share what we are doing with so many in the industry,” said Cheryl Boswell, CFO and managing partner of DCR Systems.
“We have an amazing team and we are passionate about what we do,” said Giarrizzo.
Many of the company’s technicians are homegrown.
“It’s really gratifying,” Giarrizzo said. “It warms my heart when you take somebody who has no clue what they could accomplish and within a couple of years, he or she can reach a master level of technician and do things and create a lifestyle they didn’t think was possible.”
Boswell said Carey Hehr, pre-op specialist at Classic Accident Repair Center, is one example of an employee who has developed into a skilled writer and production enthusiast.
Hehr joined DCR Systems eight years ago as a customer service representative (CSR).
“I enjoyed helping customers and making sure they understood their rights when getting their cars fixed,” Hehr said.
After assisting the company’s dealer partner and addressing warranty claims and small jobs, she realized she enjoyed writing and wanted to learn more.
“With this amazing company they gave me every opportunity to grow and learn,” said Hehr. “I now have been writing for three years and enjoy every day.”
Pictured, left to right, are Jeff and Jeanne Silver, both Hall of Eagles inductees, and Cheryl Boswell, DCR Systems.
During the tour, Mandy Wynn, national training and support manager, and Arynne Giarrizzo, central claims specialist, shared information about DCR Systems’ production process.
“The patented production process at DCR Systems is unique in that it streamlines all of the variables associated with collision repair by eliminating waste, rework and stress, leading to increased profitability,” said Wynn.
“It also empowers the team and allows everyone to continuously and creatively improve processes throughout,” added Arynne.
Wynn first described the pre-op phase of the process. Here, all the variables related to the repair are thoroughly researched, investigated and discussed, so a one-time parts order can be placed before vehicles are put in the production line.
“Pre-op is vital to ensure continuous flow in our production line,” said Wynn.
Arynne said the production line is able to move continuously because it tells employees where they need to work.
“The team recognizes where there may be a potential bottleneck in the production line and our team adjusts where they need to work,” she said.
Wynn and Arynne also explained how the process differs from other collision repair facilities. One big difference, according to Wynn, is the strict structure and validations the company has in place during every step in the process.
“Despite the random working environment, we have the same process that all cars go through to achieve consistent quality and performance on every single vehicle. This allows us to not only produce consistent quality but also an OEM-guided safe repair,” she said. “How we ultimately benefit is in what our customers say about us and our passion to fix vehicles.”
Pictured, left to right, are Michelle Sullivan, Kathy Coffey, Carol Romero and Nada Jokic from AkzoNobel.
Arynne described how the process enables the team to crosstrain.
“This allows us to use resources where the work is needed,” she said. “We train team members and educate them on OEM manufacturers’ guidelines to ensure their greatest potential.”
Andy Warren, store support specialist, explained the virtual huddle to tour attendees.
“The virtual huddle is the last step prior to the repair plan being finalized,” said Warren. “It is basically an estimate review but done virtually.”
Using FaceTime, virtual huddles are used every day throughout the company. The repair planner goes over the repair plan that shows the damages to the vehicle. Then, it is scrubbed for any items that may have been overlooked and verified all repairs are being done per OEM guidelines.
“Performing the virtual huddle on each job is important for us because having that extra set of eyes glance over each repair plan is so crucial in our world,” said Warren. “Repair planners often get pulled away and have plenty of distractions during the day, and if we can catch something on the front end, then we can keep our process flowing and not lose valuable days on the back end.”
He said it has also helped DCR Systems by having someone verifying all stores are performing OEM procedures.
Another highlight was learning about the DCR Claims Portal, developed by Warren and Harley Wegman, repair plan specialist.
Dave Martin, operations director, said the DCR Claims Portal is a revolutionary interface that allows for a complete claims settlement package and has myriad benefits for all facets of the repair industry.
This includes a shop looking to make sure they have assembled all the documentation needed for a repair and adhering to OE certification programs, an insurance company looking to settle a claim for a policyholder or a subrogation claim, and a customer searching for a better understanding of what will be done to their vehicle.
“The application dynamically aligns the work to be done with the corresponding evidence in a single view,” said Martin. “It is the most simple and intuitive way to present the information for a repair and eliminates the countless hours spent trying to decipher buckets of documents and photos to specific repair operations by aligning all of that for the user.”
Pictured are Winston Cover, left, AkzoNobel, and Petra Schroder, right, “Collisionista.”
He said the assembly of the portal is a great self-check on the completeness of the repair plan.
“It helps ensure that your team has pulled together all of the necessary information to restore the vehicle per OE specifications once up-front rather than multiple times when requested by insurers throughout the repair process,” he said. “This results in an impressive time savings overall.”
The development of the portal was born from the idea of continuous improvement. DCR Systems had a virtual portal prior to this version, but Martin said it did not meet the company’s needs to streamline its process.
“The portal is a prime example of the persistence and ingenuity of our team to come up with better ways of doing things, even when something doesn’t appear 'broken' in the first place,” he said. “It demonstrates what team members can accomplish when leadership encourages them to run with some of their ideas.”
Most of DCR Systems’ processes have been created by team members. Arynne said working in a team-based environment empowers everyone to make continuous improvements.
“We have a team of people who are game changers in our industry and we have a passion in what we do in collision repair,” said Wynn. “It’s a passion that’s contagious, especially when you have leaders such as Michael Giarrizzo and Cheryl Boswell.”
Wynn said it’s not just about fixing a vehicle to collect a check at the end of the job.
“We want to put safe vehicles back in customers’ hands, vehicles that we would trust to put our family and friends in and know that we have repaired them the way the manufacturer of that vehicle would have wanted it done,” she said.