Logistics Newsmaker Q&A: Ricardo Da Cruz, Joman Auto Service

Dec. 3, 2019
Ricardo Da Cruz, operator of Joman Auto Service, says some may mistakenly believe that technology alone can maximize efficiency.

Ricardo Da Cruz, operator of Joman Auto Service, a three-technician-run business located minutes away from Newark, NJ, spoke about accessible logistics best practices. Someone who can teach professional installers to manage a profitable repair shop, says Da Cruz, may mistakenly believe that technology alone can maximize efficiency. Data and process are equally as important as forming a partnership with a solutions provider versed in supply chain dynamics.

Ricardo Da Cruz, left

Having personally endured a disjointed vehicle flow that resulted in poor time management and costly over runs, Da Cruz founded a shop management startup called Complete Auto Reports. As a result, Joman Auto Service is better positioned to elevate the customer experience that Da Cruz asserts should be the focal point of logistics. He speaks with Aftermarket Business World.

What kinds of blind spots do your suppliers or manufacturers have when it comes to parts inventory on hand?
The internet and dealers. I can't even believe that in 2019 everyone underestimates the behemoths forming online, vying for real estate of the digital side to the auto industry in today's world.

What are the biggest supply chain pain points out there that you think that should be addressed?
The only pain points I have are that I want everything now and cheaper. Because that's all we [installers] have been trained to think — that everything boils down to speed and price. But both have their place. Sometimes you sacrifice speed for sanity and other times you sacrifice small price differences to keep your local ecosystem intact. It's all a delicate balance to provide the customer a quality service at an affordable price. It is also not having to warranty things out from poorly manufactured parts, improper installation or worse... mistakes from rushing through a job.

Describe the gaps either inventory availability or delivery that are underserved – even by the best Shop Management Software (SMS) technology in the market.
Inventory availability is still very much a process prone to errors. We see failures every day as a shop in everyone from us to the gigantic internet retailer. No SMS system can fix that. All a good SMS system can do is enable you. At Complete Auto Reports (CAR), we subscribe to the principle of data — how many parts are stocked, it’s interchangeability with other parts in stock, supplier availability (through PartsTech), pricing out costs and other things— that display critical information with speed and accuracy. CAR allows you to organize your inventory through a unique system that molds to your shop, not the other way around. It helps you walk past a shelf and know what's missing in about 20 seconds from your phone.

What types of improvements do your suppliers need to make in how they approach timely product delivery?
Delivery times don't matter nearly as much as training shops on how to service today's vehicles. If we were all better at running our facilities, we wouldn't actually need faster deliveries. This isn't 30-minute pizza. This is delivery in (Newark, NJ), a highly congested area of the country. Most deliveries are available to us in about an hour to an hour and a half. That's 60-90 minutes of time. My two closest pickup supplier locations have me traveling at least 40 to 60 minutes. How much faster do I want it?  We can inspect 1-2 vehicles in that time and change their oil.

What innovations should the industry should be monitoring to ensure that the right products are available and delivered on time?
If you want people to buy your products, make them reliable, stand behind them and offer us (professional mechanics) training. You can use the opportunity to teach us about diagnostic problem solving, how your part resolves it and why I should buy your brand instead of theirs. Now a shop employee understands the problem, knows you provide a solution and when they need it, you're the first brand that they think of.

About the Author

Alan Segal

Alan R. Segal specializes in project management for suppliers, consultants and retailers. He practiced category management for Sanel Auto Parts Co. and Advance Auto Parts before launching his own firm, Alan R. Segal-Best Business Practitioner. He has worked in the auto care industry since 1991. Connect with Alan on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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