Collision damage experts Larry Montanez and Arthur Harris presented “The Keys to Successful Estimating!” during NACE in New Orleans, LA, on Oct. 12.
The focus of their presentation centered on DEG, Database Enhancement Gateway, a free service funded by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, the Automotive Service Association and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers. The DEG is an advocate for accurate collision data and acts as a go-between for shops and information providers—CCC, Mitchell and Audatex. The DEG was developed to improve the quality and accuracy of collision repair estimates by those who use collision repair estimating databases to provide feedback to information providers.
“The DEG was created because there was a disconnect with information providers and DEG was created to bridge that gap,” said Harris, DEG Administrator.
The DEG public database has been around for five years, said Harris, who has been with the company for two years. He describes his job as “facilitating the gap between information providers and the estimate user.”
Collision repairers and insurers may submit questions and inquiries or ask for assistance with a particular problem and DEG will work with the information provider to reach a resolution. Often, this can result in changes to the database or P-Pages. Shops are also encouraged to submit pictures or short videos with technicians performing a task in regards to a question or problem that arises, said Montanez, a collision damage analyst with P&L Consultants.
To submit an inquiry, log on to www.degweb.org and fill out an online worksheet.
“The DEG is free and people should send in their inquiries. It helps everyone get questions answered,” said Montanez.
The DEG database is a valuable tool for the collision repair industry as it provides valuable feedback on missing, unclear or potentially inaccurate data within the estimate systems, Harris said. He adds that the DEG provides timely responses on both the status on an inquiry and the response from the information provider in question. Users can also read all other inquiries made by other repairers and see how the issue was resolved.
Through feedback by repairers, the DEG can help fix footnotes, inaccurate labor times, missing parts, incorrect part numbers, and substrate identification.
In addition, Harris advised those in attendance at the NACE presentation not to print out the P-Pages, or estimating guides as he called them, because they could be outdated. Montanez says he downloads the P-Pages once a month to replace the older version from the previous month.
“The P-Pages aren’t guides. The estimates aren’t suggested. It is the manual,” said Montanez. “The P-Pages are not open to interpretation.”
For more information on the DEG, go to www.degweb.org.