by Chasidy Rae Sisk
As anyone who works in a collision repair facility can certainly attest, the operations identified by information providers (IPs) such as Audatex, CCC and Mitchell are much more likely to be “estimates” of the time and requirements actually affiliated with certain procedures than the detailed repair plans written in today’s shops.
For 15 years, the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) has been helping the collision repair industry improve the quality, accuracy and standardization of their repair blueprints – with over 20,000 inquiries submitted through the end of last year.
Suffice it to say that the DEG is powerful, yet because it is funded and managed by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP), along with additional donors/sponsors, this resource is offered FREE to the industry, allowing users to provide feedback that is used to improve the quality of information in the IP databases. If that wasn’t already an amazing feat, degweb.org saw a significant reboot earlier this year, designed to enhance security, increase user-friendliness and advance analytic capabilities.
“The entire website is completely refreshed with a new look and feel,” according to DEG Administrator Danny Gredinberg. “It has been mobile-optimized to encourage more users to utilize the free resource. Phoenix Solutions Group stepped up to the plate and not only built a new main website but also completely rebuilt the database from scratch, making it faster, easier to use and more visually appealing, all while maintaining the existing database and without losing any information.”
Nick Schoolcraft (Phoenix Solutions Group) shared highlights about the updated site. “Security has been enhanced, and the ability to input inquiries will be much faster and more user-friendly,” he promised. “Users will be able to dive deeper into each individual query, plus we increased the overall speed of the website, leveraged mobility so it will be usable on mobile devices and updated the structure of the database to improve the reporting feature.”
The primary goal of the redesign was security enhancement, ensuring the new website would provide the highest possible level of security while also improving the user experience. “We invested in enhanced security measures that don’t slow loading times or make the user experience cumbersome,” Schoolcraft explained. “By taking these extra precautions, we’ve been able to make sure visitors get the best possible experience while keeping their data secure. With the enhanced security measures in place and faster load times, visitors can feel good that DEG is doing its part to keep its data safe.”
“Phoenix Solutions Group’s top priority was ensuring the security of the data we receive cannot be accessed by anyone since that information can be sensitive,” Gredinberg added. “Each user that accesses the information only has a certain level of access, depending on their assigned permissions, for the specific information necessary to complete their review of the inquiry and database.”
Most users are familiar with the DEG from the perspective of submitting questions for clarification from the IPs, and often, those inquiries result in changes to the databases. In fact, 60 percent of the inquiries submitted in 2022 resulted in a net change. “That’s the power of what the DEG does,” SCRS Board member Barry Dorn (Dorn’s Body & Paint; Mechanicsville, VA) noted. “It provides a way for us to collaboratively push the boulder up the hill together.”
While inquiries are still input through a webform, the process has been revamped to provide an updated look while also being updated to work seamlessly with all web browsers, whereas it worked best with Google Chrome prior to the reboot. Optimizing the site to make it more accessible on tablets and mobile devices was another top priority. “A fundamental component of the redesign was to make sure visitors had a seamless experience across all devices, from desktop and laptop computers to tablets and mobile phones,” according to Schoolcraft. “We wanted the site, as well as database inquiries, to be effortlessly consumed by visitors on any device.”
“We hope this will encourage additional use straight from the shop floor,” Gredinberg added. “You can quickly add attachments (photos, videos and various documents) right on the spot to streamline the inquiry process.”
Users can also expect improved search results and filtering options for vehicle-specific information when searching the database, allowing for streamlined workflows as well as advanced data and analytical capabilities.
“Visitors of the site will see improved search functionality as well as a much faster, responsive and intuitive experience,” Schoolcraft promised.
Lastly, the Estimators’ Toolbox portion of the website has been expanded to provide even more estimating tips, easy access to SCRS’ Quick Tips videos, OEM repair information, links to vehicle owners manuals and much more to help keep today’s collision repair professional informed with all the data they need right at their fingertips.
Learn more about the DEG or submit an inquiry at degweb.org.
Want more? Check out the May 2023 issue of Hammer & Dolly!