Diamond Triumph's New Management Team Discusses Strategy; Emphasis to
Shift to Quality and Service, Not Price. Safelite Hearing Set for June
The new top management of Diamond Triumph Auto Glass, chief executive
officer Douglas M. Boyle and president Karen A. Christopher, met with
glassBYTES.com for an exclusive interview at their offices in Kingston,
Pa., on yesterday, Monday. They told glassBYTES.com the company's business
strategy is to compete in the market on quality and service, not just
price and they think the market will respond to this approach, both in
terms of cash jobs and insurance work. They stated that the professionalism
of the industry has to be upgraded. They also said that the company is
looking to further expand through acquisition, most likely with 'mom-and-pop'
companies, which are in both the AGRR and flat glass market segments.
Boyle called being in both market segments a sounder business model that
is less risky. The company had entered the flat glass segment following
its acquisition last year of Settles Glass, in New England, which competes
in both market segments.
In response to postings on the AGRR Magazine message forum alleging employee
theft and employees working extra time without pay, the top managers say
the company has found some instances that may have merit and has instituted
a zero tolerance policy in such cases. In terms of the employee theft
and employee conflict of interest, the officials said it has been made
clear to all employees that such actions can be reported and it has found
the vast majority of employees responsive to this. On the question of
overtime, it has found that some managers were not clear on some of these
policies and an education program has been undertaken to be sure that
this topic is understood by both employees and managers.
On the Safelite suit, the company issued this statement to glassBYTEs:
[Diamond Triumph] feels confident in its position in this case and looks
forward to seeing the case through its legal conclusion. Non-expert, fact
discovery in this matter closed on June 30, 2005. In October 2005, both
sides moved for summary judgment-Diamond on the Defendant's counterclaims,
the Defendant on Diamond's claims. A hearing on the motions is scheduled
for June 1, 2006. Upon resolution of the summary judgment motions, Diamond
anticipates that the Court will schedule the matter for trial.
Asked what this means, Boyle explained: "We're going to be moving
forward. A hearing is scheduled for June 1, and we anticipate that it
will go to court. We've done discovery and now we're at summary judgment
and the judge is going to say, 'OK where are we now and what's the next
step?' It could be that it will go to court, or it might be settled. It
depends on what the judge feels the next step should be. If we go to trial
with this, we'll be fully prepared for that."
Asked if there was a timeline, Boyle added, "The discovery stage
is a lengthy one. While I can't say how long it might be at this point,
typically, most of the work and time is behind us. On June 1 we'll know
more in terms of whether it's going to be faster or slower."
Because there has been a lot of speculation that the lawsuit was the basis
for the FBI investigation, which was initiated last December alleging
insurance fraud against the company, glassBYTEs asked Boyle if he believed
that was the case.
"We don't know the basis of why the investigation began and we don't
want to speculate on why it might have begun. All we know is that in November
we became aware of an investigation and we have cooperated fully with
it," he said.
On the FBI investigation, the company issued this statement to glassBYTEs:
In November of 2005, the Company learned that the government was conducting
an investigation related to the Company. Since that time the Company has
been cooperating with the government and is fully committed to continuing
to do so. The company has established a working group to review its practices
and develop policy and procedures as needed. The Company also has retained
outside counsel to review past business practices, and counsel has retained
an independent forensic accounting firm to assist in that review and to
aid with process improvements.
As always, our day to day operations continue to be focused on providing
quality service to our customers, and maintaining excellent relationships
with our vendors. The Company is proud of our employees, and we thank
them for continuing to provide the best possible service during this time.
The July/August issue of AGRR Magazine will contain the full interview
with Boyle and Christopher. If you don't already subscribe to AGRR magazine,
HERE to order your subscription. Subscriptions are free to those in
the AGRR industry.