DCR Systems announced that Mirak Automotive Group in Arlington, Mass., has become the second company to sign an area development licensing agreement with the company. The agreement provides access to DCR Systems’ full turnkey operating model.
“Like many collision repair businesses, Mirak Automotive Group was impacted during the pandemic and hadn’t fully recovered. At the same time, they went through some leadership changes,” said Michael Giarrizzo, president and CEO of DCR Systems, based in Ohio. “We’ve been able to help them get back on track and grow their business.”
Added DCR Systems CFO Cheryl Boswell, “The DCR Systems operating model is about having standardized processes, not only operationally but also administratively. It’s a great way to help them connect their entire process. It also benefits their customer base and sales and service departments so they can prosper in the future.”
A Franchise-Like Agreement
DCR Systems began licensing its proprietary operating model, a franchise-like agreement, in January 2021. Licensees 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 have access to the DCR app with all of the processes and people development materials.
“Pressure from insurance agents and customers to get vehicles cycled through the shop quickly and efficiently can be challenging,” said Rob Mirak, president and dealer principal of Mirak Automotive Group. “Using DCR Systems’ lean process makes a lot of sense for our business. Our partnership will enable our facility to become more efficient and grow.”
A New Layout
Mirak Automotive Group was established in 1932 by Rob Mirak’s grandfather, John. The company currently operates three dealerships on the same campus — Chevrolet, Hyundai and Genesis — as well as a 20,000-square-foot collision repair facility with 13 employees. The company was named a top-rated dealer in 2021 by CarGurus.
Once the licensing agreement was signed, Mirak Automotive received training on DCR Systems’ software and repair flow, which uses a U-shaped formation so a car follows a certain process.
“Changing the layout of the shop was pretty dramatic for us because we’ve been repairing vehicles the same way for so long,” said Mirak. “Change is always hard but we’re thrilled with the outcome.”
Many of Mirak’s employees have worked at the company for decades and are used to doing work in a certain way. Since moving to this new model, Mirak said the team has supported the changes that have been made at the facility.
“I think anyone looking to do something like this has to have a team that will embrace the changes,” said Mirak. “By having them involved from the beginning, they own the change and I think that helps them feel part of the whole process.”
Although they operate a large shop, Mirak said it’s not the biggest volume shop.
“While volume is not the most important factor, I think we should be one of the best collision centers in Boston because of the system we’re using,” said Mirak. “I think we’re ahead of the curve and DCR is ahead of the curve getting involved with this lean system.”
Mirak also foresees that it will help them find talented technicians who want to work in this environment.
As part of the changes they have incorporated, they now pay technicians hourly rather than a flat rate, which he said is critical to a team-based environment.
“This allows them to have a stable income and remove some of the instability,” said Mirak. “We’re excited to move forward and expand our 13-person team.”
Utilizing DCR Systems’ process has helped Mirak Automotive monitor production and meet its goals. “Not only is it user-friendly, but it is helping obtain payment with insurance companies,” said Mirak.
He has also been very pleased with the support his team has received from DCR Systems.
“DCR has been wonderful training our team and getting them excited about the process,” he said.
Over the next year and a half, Giarrizzo said they will continue to work closely with the team at Mirak Automotive Group so they can get the industry education they need through I-CAR and become manufacturer certified.
“We believe the most respected OE-driven collision repair facilities adhere to strict standards,” said Giarrizzo.
First Company Signs On
In January, the company began licensing its proprietary operating model. Keeler Motor Car Company, based in Latham, N.Y., was the first company to sign on.
Giarrizzo said the agreement allows collision industry business owners to take advantage of an integrated process that includes extensive training and support while running their facilities.
The DCR Systems’ process is being updated all the time.
“The fundamentals and way we operate never change, but the operating model specifics are continually being tweaked,” said Giarrizzo. “There’s always room for improvement.”
Giarrizzo said this holds DCR Systems accountable to its standards and validates that the process is repeatable and can be replicated.
“It’s great to validate what we have developed and it helps us improve our extended families’ processes,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to share our knowledge with great operators in the industry.”
Added Boswell, “Our model makes it easy for former operators who are looking to get back into the business as well as those who would like to open a collision shop for the first time.”