Tuesday, 25 November 2008 06:10

Amaradio -- It’s Just Like A “Real Rolex”

Written by Lee Amaradio, Jr.
I work for a major auto insurer and I have been chosen to purchase my supervisor’s retirement gift. I’m personally responsible for purchasing his “Gold Rolex.” My boss deserves it. Let me explain.

    My boss is personally responsible for starting the direct repair network to process the auto claims within our company. He cut the claim handling costs by 75%! He created the guidelines that all other companies soon followed. The results were far better than anyone could have anticipated. His plan involved closing claim centers across the nation and laying off all excess personnel.
      He explained to the company Big Wigs how it would be possible to teach the collision shops how to handle our claims. He started by picking a few collision shops across the nation and promising them a more streamlined repair process by allowing them to become their own adjusters. This started off a little slow at first, but in no time he had hundreds of shops begging to get on our program.
    My boss was so good at selling our new program he was able to get the shops to give us a discount on parts and labor. No one expected this. Our company didn’t anticipate the huge profits this would create. Imagine getting someone to do your job and them paying you to do it.
    The Big Wigs liked the results because they were saving hundreds of dollars per claim. This seemed too good to be true because the shops were required to hire extra staff and purchase expensive computer programs for the sole purpose of handling our claim.
    Next we started closing down claims centers nationwide and this saved us millions, if not billions, of dollars annually.   My boss soon realized that he could get all of the shops in our network to agree to just about anything for more cars.
    Next my boss went to every shop individually and told them that everyone else on the program has agreed to do this or that. His plan was brilliant; no one even thought to protest and soon shops were no longer charging for certain procedures they were performing. Next he told the shops which software to purchase and exactly how he wanted them to process each claim. He even came up with some key numbers that each shop needed to watch for, like average cost per claim, cycle time, etc., so it would be easier for us to track our cost. He had the shops so busy making sure that they saved us money that they didn’t have time to check their own profits.

    My boss, who rarely misses an opportunity, decided to give these shops more and more cars. The money this was saving our company was moving our profits to record highs. Here is the really funny part: the shops were happy just to get more cars. They never figured out that we wanted to give them more cars anyway because they were saving us so much money.
    Our company Big Wigs can’t believe my boss has been able to get all of this claim processing done for free. How could it be possible to save any more money?  It’s taking candy from a baby. We already have them doing all of our claim processing for free. They give us parts and labor discounts, they don’t even charge us storage. They even settle our total losses for us. Where can he go from here?


    My boss got a brainstorm. He noted that our company spends a lot of money on rental cars. He comes up with an idea that will regulate cycle time. This should be easy because, by now, my boss has all the repair shops in our network willing to agree to just about anything just to get more cars. Knowing that the national average cycle time for collision repair is just under 2.3 hours per day my boss decides to create his own formula of four hours per day. He just pulls a number out of a hat that he knows will be next to impossible to meet. His new formula is designed to force our network shops into paying for a portion of the rental bills. My boss is a genius; He’s not really as interested in cycle time as he is in shifting some of the rental costs to the body shops.
    Not only do the shops agree, they don’t question his new cycle time formula. He tells each shop that all of the others have already agreed to this new cycle time formula. He has trained our network shops to say ‘yes’ to everything he demands.
    Next came aftermarket parts. If he forces our network shops to use them our company could save millions and the shops would assume all of the liability. This was a great plan, except the aftermarket parts weren’t the same as the original. They looked the same but their quality wasn’t equal to the original manufacturer’s quality. Even though they looked the same, they were different.
    My boss is quite a guy. I’ve learned everything I know from him, so I was confident he would figure out how to make the shops use the aftermarket parts and save our company millions of dollars.
    This was a new problem. I mean, how can you prove something is real, when it isn’t? I know you won’t believe this; but my boss helped create a company to certify these aftermarket parts. Now who ever heard of such a company? By now, I thought my boss had gone over the edge. Was I wrong. He even got the government to say that these so-called certified parts were the same as the original ones.
    So you see, my boss was a hero, and you guessed it, he earned another promotion. He transformed our company, if not our whole industry. I want to work hard so he will be proud to have me as his successor.
    Now, the time came for me to pick out his gold Rolex. I was walking up to a real Rolex dealer, when a street vendor approached me with a briefcase full of knock-off Rolex’s. It said “Rolex” on the dial, it looked like gold, the second hand moved, and it looked like it kept time. And it was only fifty bucks. (Cheaper than I could get at the fake Rolex store online, I checked later.)


Now I start brainstorming like my boss. If I could only get a certificate to say that the knock-off Rolex was the same as the real Rolex then it would be just as good. (Because everyone knows that the certification makes all of the difference). So I asked the street vendor if he knew any Rolex experts that could get this Rolex certified. He said, “I know Charlie Rappa, and he is an expert. He can certify that this Rolex is just the same as the original Rolex, therefore it qualifies as an acceptable replacement.”
    Half an hour later, I had the certificate and the knockoff Rolex. I paid him fifty dollars for the watch and ten dollars for the certificate. Look at the money I saved our company for a certified Rolex.
    I can’t wait to see my boss’s face when he sees “his Rolex” and the certificate showing it’s a C. RAPPA-certified Rolex. He’ll be just as pleased as if he had received the real one. After all, I heard my boss argue this point many times with collision shops over the years. He — of all people — should be proud that, because “his new Rolex” is certified, it’s just the same as the real one.
    I’m counting on getting promoted.