Autobody News talked to Barry Jost Sr., general manager of Jost Garage in New Jersey, about the fourth-generation family business. Established by Wesley Jost in 1923, Jost Garage started as a Studebaker dealership in Long Island, New York.
After moving his family to Wall Township, Wesley’s son Robert Jost Sr. constructed his own garage. Robert Sr. and his four sons Bob, Billy, Barry and Bryan, have dedicated themselves to running the body shop and providing excellent service to customers. Now their own children are involved in the business as well.
Q: As a fourth-generation business, can you share some of the changes you have seen in the industry over the years?
A: Direct repair relationships are one of the first changes I remember when I left college in the late 1980s. Jost Garage has a large DRP conglomerate. It’s about 50 percent of our business.
Technology has come a long way as well with all of the Supplemental Restraint (SRS) systems, electronic advancements and driver assistance advances. Metallurgy is a recent phenomenon in auto body repair. We now deal with all of the different strength steels, and of course aluminum. The last few years are all about lean processes, cycle times, parts correctness and complete disassembly. These are some of the new buzz words we hear today.
Q: Can you tell us about new technology that you have incorporated in your shop and the benefit of staying up-to-date about new advancements in the industry?
A: We have always done wheel alignments in-house with our Hunter alignment machine. We have four Chief E-Z Liner frame machines, two resistance welders by Pro-Spot as well as three down-draft spray booths. Our latest addition has been the Matrix Wand. It’s a 3D measuring tool that was the bell of the ball at the SEMA show in Las Vegas this past year.
Q: What are the benefits of using the Matrix Wand in your shop?
A: It provides us an accurate analysis of any damage, either unibody or full frame. It will also pinpoint any suspension damage or engine cradle movement. It’s the most innovative product we have seen in quite some time. You can now show proof of any type of structural damage to your insurance partners as well as speed up the tech in repairing a vehicle back to crash worthiness!
Q: How do you stay current with training and how does it help with cycle time in your shop?
A: Our current partnership with Sherwin-Williams and the professional staff, such as Steve Feltovich, have really helped us stay up-to-speed in this industry, which constantly evolves. We have attended multiple classes and seminars on all of the hot topics.
We are engaged in a 20 Group with Sherwin-Williams as well. We also stay active with I-CAR training for our own information as well as to stay in check with our insurance partners’ requirements. We have a state-of-the-art mechanical facility that employees multiple ASE-certified techs.
Q: What are some of the eco-friendly initiatives you have incorporated at Jost Garage?
A: We use recycled anti-freeze and recycle all of our fluids. We are 100 percent waterborne in our refinish department and are very proud of that. We exceed the industry average in recycled parts usage. We also recycle all metals and cardboard, plus we are 90 percent paperless in our office!
Q: Are there other changes you have noticed in the industry?
A: CARFAX is changing the way repairs are being viewed. I’ve noticed that people are more concerned about the repair process since CARFAX has been put in place.
Barry Jost can be reached at (732) 681-0115.