DCR Systems has announced that Keeler Motor Car Company, based in Latham, N.Y., is the first company to sign a licensing agreement that provides access to DCR Systems’ full turnkey operating model. It is expected to accelerate the relaunch and future expansion of Keeler Collision, LLC.
“DCR Systems has been an industry leader in changing the way collision repair has been done for decades, and this is the first time we are licensing our world-class and proprietary operating model,” said Michael Giarrizzo, president and CEO of DCR Systems, based in Ohio. “Business owners will now have the opportunity to take advantage of a truly integrated process that includes extensive training and support while running their own facilities.”
The DCR Systems team is currently helping in the design and layout of Keeler’s new facility.
“We’re very excited to work with Keeler Motor Car Company,” said Cheryl Boswell, CFO of DCR Systems. “Everybody on their team is very forward-thinking, process-centered and detail-oriented. They are an inspiring group, and I think they are going to do great things in terms of working with us with the DCR model.”
Founded in 2004, DCR Systems utilizes a collision repair model operated by DCR team members and co-branded with the auto dealer. The company operates nine production cells in four states – Ohio, New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Under the area development license, a franchise-like agreement, licensees will receive full access to the proprietary DCR process and intellectual property. This includes guidelines for facility layout and design; staffing and compensation plans; exclusive equipment and vendor lists; and a proprietary claims portal. In addition, they will have access to the DCR app with all of the processes and people development materials.
“Every day, we move more toward an OE-driven world in this industry,” said Giarrizzo. “By being branded with the dealer, we’re providing an opportunity for dealers to be in the business in a very forward-thinking way with little risk, while providing a quality-driven process guided by the manufacturer.”
“We’ve done a lot of research and development over the last 16 years to refine our processes and we continually improve how we operate,” said Boswell. “We’ve already done all of the hard work and heavy lifting so others, like Keeler Motor Car Company, can achieve their goals too.”
Added Keeler Motor Car Company CEO Jesse Hord, “We recognize that DCR Systems has gone through the pain points of how to grow this type of model. Partnering with them gives us the tools and the blueprint to skip those same mistakes and really brings a turnkey way to operate a collision center that would have taken us years to get right. As a result, we will be able to grow this model quicker and more efficiently than going at it alone.”
Keeler Motor Car Company
Keeler Motor Car Company was established in 1967 by Alexander Keeler with a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Keeler currently operates five franchises on a 55-acre campus in Latham: Honda, BMW, Mini, Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes Benz Commercial Vans.
With the DCR licensing agreement, Keeler’s goal is to grow its collision arm into a more significant portion of its business.
“As a leading-edge automotive retailer, our ultimate goal is to revolutionize how collision repairers operate in the United States,” said Hord. “Their success is our success, and being able to take their years of experience and apply it to bring value to our market is very exciting.”
Keeler Collision’s managing partners, Ben Bowman and Chris Verdi, said the team learned about DCR Systems about four years ago during an AkzoNobel North American Performance Group meeting where they addressed lean processes and toured the DCR Systems facility in Mentor, Ohio.
“The minute we saw how the DCR Systems’ production system flow worked and the build-down process, it just clicked,” said Verdi.
Since then, the Keeler Motor Car Company has been working toward creating a DCR-like company.
“Eventually, joining forces and partnering with an area development agreement just made too much sense not to do.”
“With the growing complexity of vehicles, the need for higher quality OEM-driven repairs is even greater,” said Bowman. “Through our success and growth, our goal is that more people will look toward this model and start to adopt it on a more widespread level.”
One of the unique features of the DCR Systems’ model, according to Boswell, is that it includes the process of how to repair a customer’s vehicle and ensure it is flowing through the shop in the proper sequence while having quality verification built into the process.
“As a result, technicians can fly across the country or go into a shop across town and they are able to walk in and start working immediately because all of the tools, visuals and processes are in place,” she said.
Bowman said the team is looking forward to the collaboration that will come from the relationship with DCR Systems.
“We are not immune to hardships and challenges, but having the additional support of DCR turns each new challenge into an opportunity for improvement and making the whole network stronger,” said Bowman.
As a result, the company has positioned itself to grow and cultivate its local market to have six to eight centers in five years.
“With the DCR Systems area development agreement, we will be in the perfect position to satisfy the need for dealer partners in southern Vermont, Eastern New York, Western Massachusetts and Connecticut,” Bowman said.
“For former operators who are looking to get back into the business and others who would like to open a collision shop, our model makes it easy for them,” said Boswell.
Added Giarrizzo, “We are a courageous company and aren’t afraid to think outside of the box. We are excited to be able to share our knowledge with great operators in the industry, like the team at Keeler, and allow them to execute it as well.”