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DCR Systems, built on over 50 years of family tradition in collision repair, is a lean business that’s onto something big after announcing an exclusive partnership with Toyota. The editors of BodyShop Business visited DCR Systems’ Classic Accident Repair Center in Mentor, Ohio, on August 7, 2008 to talk to DCR Systems President and CEO Michael Giarizzo, Jr., and learn about the company’s success.
Initially, DCR offered turnkey collision repair outsourcing to dealerships nationwide, operating six repair centers in three states. However, with DCR’s recent announcement of a groundbreaking alliance with Toyota Motor Sales USA, DCR will offer its patent-pending, lean-based operating model exclusively to Toyota dealerships for the next five years (click HERE to read our story). The Classic center is partnered with and performs collision repairs for Classic Auto Group dealerships.
Giarizzo’s lean management style focuses on getting “consistent, predictable results in an unpredictable environment,” he said. Teamwork and strictly followed standard operating procedures (SOPs) make DCR’s assembly line-style shops run like well-oiled machines.
Stepping into the Classic shop, customers are given a picture-window view of one of the facility’s three repair “cells.” The day BodyShop Business visited, the cell was not operating, but filled with detailed, ready-to-pick-up cars. When staffed, each cell has the tools, equipment and personnel to repair cars from start to finish. Instead of working on only one car, technicians are separated into teams that perform one part of the repair be it disassembly, welding or painting on every car that passes through the shop, hence the assembly line approach. Giarizzo said this allows DCR technicians to master a small set of skills rather than the hundreds of individual steps required to repair a vehicle from start to finish.
Each area of the cell has repair SOPs on display so techs can deliver consistent results with every repair, Giarizzo said. The shop is also impeccably organized, and everything has a place. Teams share tools, which are hung on pegboards with not only labels, but also silhouettes of tools to ensure each tool is put away in the same place each time. The floors are spotless because techs clean between repairs throughout the day to stay on top of potential clutter.
“My sister compared it to a hair salon,” Giarizzo said. “Imagine if they didn’t sweep up between customers it’s unthinkable.”
A centralized computer system tracks each repair’s progress, and computers at each cell’s station allow techs to check off repair steps and report on each vehicle’s status. Traffic lights hanging from the ceiling indicate whether a vehicle is ready to move on to the next repair phase.
“It’s all about moving the cars through as efficiently as possible,” Giarizzo said.
DCR’s patent-pending, process-centered model which also features four-day, 40-hour work weeks for its employees at two locations that are open six days a week appealed to Toyota, one of the originators of lean principles.
”They obviously understand the way that we think, and they certainly know about lean better than anybody else,” Giarizzo said of Toyota. “I don’t think anybody up until this point has showed them a process that can be replicated or gave them confidence that it can be replicated, along with showing them the thought processes and principles driving it.”
For the next five years, DCR will only build and operate collision centers for U.S. Toyota dealerships that choose to outsource management of their operations rather than operate the traditional model. Giarizzo said the DCR model appealed to Toyota because it builds on customer loyalty. DCR’s non-Toyota-affiliated locations have been grandfathered in under the deal.
“There’s a lot of pride when a company this young is able to accomplish something like this,” he said. “This is all about Toyota’s commitment to provide even greater support for customer retention and satisfaction.”