Established by Michael Giarrizzo, Jr. in December 2004, DCR Systems sets up accident repair facilities for automotive dealerships looking to outsource their operations. (DCR stands for Diversified Collision Repair.) The company uses a process-focused collision repair operating model, developed by Giarrizzo after many years of working in the industry.
Giarrizzo, the president and CEO of the Ohio-based business, said his proprietary system eliminates many of the inefficiencies associated with auto body repairs.
It is based on the principle of lean manufacturing systems. Lean manufacturing, often referred to as "lean," is a systematic method for the elimination of waste within a manufacturing system.
“We operate each location within a process-centered environment that standardizes and streamlines each procedure,” said Giarrizzo. “It doesn’t mean it’s easier, it’s just more simple. It takes a lot of discipline and complete team engagement to actually make it happen.”
After receiving a customer’s car, shops dedicate a lot of time, effort and resources up front during the diagnostic process in order to uncover everything that could be a result of the accident. All of the parts, materials and equipment are collected and the steps to repair the vehicle are lined up in a certain sequence. Giarrizzo said this eliminates redundancy and simplifies the entire process.
Rather than the traditional mindset where a vehicle is assigned to a technician who is largely in control of the repair, employees work together, including the entire production and administration staff.
Giarrizzo realized that as vehicles become more complex, it would be virtually impossible for a single technician to know everything about every vehicle produced and all of their advanced systems.
Instead, no single technician is responsible for everything on the repair side. “We can bring support team members in and teach them a smaller handful of skills so they can add value to our process in a relatively short period of time,” said Giarrizzo. “Over time we help them acquire more and more skills.”
Michael Giarrizzo, Jr.
Giarrizzo got his start in the business working at the family body shop – JSI Collision Center. Eventually, the business expanded to include four locations in Northeastern Ohio. In 1999, the shops were acquired by Sterling Autobody Centers and two years later Allstate Non-Insurance Holdings took over Sterling. Giarrizzo became COO for the division and helped the business grow to 65 stores.
After spending practically his entire working career in the collision repair business, Giarrizzo asked himself: How could we do things differently if we had the opportunity?
He got that opportunity in 2003, when he resigned from his position as COO of Sterling and decided to form DCR Systems.
His business now works closely with dealerships to either build a brand new collision center or convert their existing one. DCR Systems sets up their entire operations, including purchasing equipment, hiring employees, managing payroll, and P&L. “Our stores are all about replication,” said Giarrizzo. Everything is consistent, from the way the desks are set up to the way tooling is positioned and displayed and the facilities are layed out.
Currently, DCR Systems has set up eight locations, referred as “operating cells” in four different markets—Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. Each of the operating cells are approximately 10,000 square feet of production space and have 14-16 total employees.
"We partnered with DCR purely to increase customer satisfaction,” said Jim Brown, president of Classic Auto Group in Mentor, Ohio. “We wanted to eliminate the clog in the body shop—cars just didn’t move.”
Jay McFarland, chief financial officer at Mike Johnson’s Hickory Toyota in Hickory, NC, also established a DCR collision center. “We were immediately impressed and excited by DCR’s process and quality. Partnering with DCR allows us to continue to take care of our customers at a very high level and to create customers for life by closing the customer service loop,” said McFarland.
During the course of a typical day, workers wear many different hats. “We try really hard to stay away from having specific roles where they have a primary responsibility, but instead train and cross-train a lot of people to be able to adapt and respond to where the work is dictating its needs,” said Giarrizzo.
He said one of the main advantages of operating in a process-centered environment is that shops become more adaptable to the constantly evolving vehicles. “Every year, every make and model seems to advance at a pretty astounding pace and we’re able to put different standards and things in place at the right step in the process to accommodate that,” said Giarrizzo.
By completely outfitting each cell with all of the tooling and equipment, there is no investment required by technicians. Giarrizzo said this makes it more conducive for employee development and attracting potential hires into the industry, especially students from vocational schools. He said the process not only helps in recruiting new employees, but assists in their development.
“The biggest thing I see is employee quality of life because no single person in our operation or any of our operations is responsible for carrying the load; it’s a team environment so you’re using complementary skills and efforts to potentially remanufacture the vehicle.”
His vision is to reinvent the collision repair industry by returning the body shop’s revenue stream to dealers seeking to retain loyal customers.
“It’s a group of courageous people who have dared to do away with the status quo and do things because they made sense. They act without fear and with the belief that doing the right thing for the right reasons will ultimately pay out,” said Giarrizzo.
For more information, contact Michael Giarrizzo Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call DCR Systems at (888) DCR-9902.