November 16, 2016 - Rochester, NY - On October 26th 2016, the Database Enhancement Gateway received its 10,000th inquiry nearly nine years after the launch of www.degweb.org in November of 2007.
The DEG was designed to help improve the information in collision repair estimates through feedback from the industry about vehicle-specific errors, omissions and inaccuracies in the database and labor times. The free service was initially founded by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and continues to be managed by a Joint Operating Committee (JOC) of association representatives.
"We can't be more pleased with what the DEG has accomplished since its creation", stated JOC member Rick Starbard. "What started as an ambitious desire to create a more efficient and transparent mechanism for raising and resolving database issues, has established itself as permanent and useful tool with tremendous cumulative value for the collision industry."
The roots of the DEG were first established through volunteer work, led by the late March Taylor. Through the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) website, Taylor would dedicate nearly half his day to volunteer efforts collecting information, researching the databases and processing hundreds of database inquiries from collision repair businesses around the country.
"March was so passionate about the estimating data, and he recognized what a difference could be made by working with the information providers to identify where the systems could more accurately reflect the real world requirements technicians face in the repair process," reflected JOC Member Barry Dorn. "It was that passion and commitment that really fueled the development of the DEG. March passed in 2007 before the site was unveiled to the industry, but he was fundamentally involved in the culture and the approach the resource would adopt to motivate positive change."
"The DEG generates a positive change for the industry in several ways," shares DEG User Lorne Senior of The Auto Body Works, Inc. "The shop owner, technicians and everyone down the line benefits from a database correction that involves labor time being correctly applied for a given operation. Everyone, the customer, the repair facility and the insurance company all benefit from a correction to a missing part or incorrect part number in the database as well. A correction means less downtime, less moving the vehicle, less returned parts. It's a win for all involved."
With ever increasing vehicle construction complexity, the accuracy of collision repair data has become critically important. The DEG has enabled estimating program end-users to play a larger role in influencing the quality the data in the systems.
One of the most unique elements to the DEG resource was the transition from volunteer efforts, to the addition of a dedicated staff member to communicate directly with the Information Providers on behalf of the end-users.
"The objective is ultimately to obtain prompt responses to questions, many of which may stimulate the new database line items or changes in labor time reflected in the estimating system," added current DEG Administrator Arthur Harris. "With feedback received from the online inquiry process, we have been able to work in a really constructive manner with the Information Providers to reach thousands of positive resolutions."
"Congrats on 10,000 inquiries! I remember first hearing about DEG at my local autobody association meeting many years ago," shared DEG user Nathan Simmons, Owner of C&C Collision. "I thought 'this is great, because when I do an inquiry direct to the information provider it seems like it always yields the same result with no change.' I always felt like my voice was not being heard even though I had very clearly made my point. With DEG it was immediately different, and there was attentiveness that I feel came from the transparency of the process, and having someone on the other end helping to discuss the concern while I went back to work. It truly only takes minutes to do, and over the years I've seen my inquiries generate labor corrections on things like Toyota Corolla taillight fillers, Audi roof molding labor and rivets added to database, Mercedes ML core support labor and countless others."
In a show of support for the accomplishments, and recognition of the ongoing work left to be done, Dave Gruskos, President of Reliable Automotive Equipment elected to contribute $1000 in funding in memorial of the accomplishment. "The DEG is a proven game-changer," he shared; "Congratulations on 10,000 inquiries!" O
ther companies, individuals and associations similarly followed with congratulatory remarks and funding contributions, including AASP-MA, AASP-MN, AASP-NJ, Montana Collision Repair Association (MCRA) and the Hendler Family in memory of March Taylor.
Along with the inquiry process the DEG has grown through development of other useful resources on their website. Weekly estimate tips, a growing YouTube library of videos, a knowledge base section and a list of "Top-10" desired product enhancements are just a few examples of the information that can be found on the DEG website www.degweb.org.
Senior concluded "NOTHING bad comes from having a more accurate database. As a collective group, the repair industry can go a long way to smooth out the flaws which will help us all. It takes very little time to verify & submit an inquiry to the database asking for a correction. It takes about the same to look up information on a previously submitted question for clarification to better understand or provide the needed documentation needed. To my fellow repair facilities...please, get involved!"
For more information about the DEG, or if you have an inquiry regarding estimating data please visit www.degweb.org.
About the Database Enhancement Gateway:
The DEG is an initiative designed to help improve the information in collision repair estimates through proactive feedback about vehicle-specific errors, omissions and inaccuracies in the database and labor times. With support and funding from the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP), Society of Collision Repairs (SCRS) and other industry organizations the DEG can provides its services free of charge to the industry. For more information on the DEG please visit www.degweb.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.