The Advantage of Workflow Management in Reconditioning

On any given day, my business conversations typically focus in on one of three topics: dealers who are ready to give up on recon spreadsheets and the extra managerial oversight; dealers not ready to admit they have a recon problem; and finally, dealers who have already addressed their recon problems by integrating a recon- workflow management system. Throughout these many conversations, it has been easy to collect substantial data, particularly regarding those new dealers who have swapped out a spreadsheet for a new workflow system.

The new recon workflow management system is everything a spreadsheet is not. It provides significant capabilities thanks to real-time
and mobile, and is designed for the UCM to effectively monitor and provide actionable insights, putting them 100 percent in control. Users have complete transparency and real- time accountability — what better motivator for improved performance? It is an intuitive and simple-to-use Web-based interface, which streamlines the entire reconditioning process from auction or trade to front-line ready.

As mentioned, the system works especially well for the UCM. For example, the UCM is the largest customer of service. Yet, he or she, given their busy schedule, is the most likely person to be unavailable to make that urgent sign-off decision to keep cars quickly moving to the front line. Implementing a workflow management system, with integrated mobile technology, will allow the UCM to receive a text when a car is ready for approval, along with listing all the repair recommendations and associated costs. This alert can be received at a desk, an auction, a meeting or just about anywhere — even on the way to Starbuck’s. Armed with
these details, there is no reason for service to be delayed by chasing down the UCM to get that decision in order to move forward. With a quick glance at all the information, including all the notes attached to that particular car, it’s easy to decide which repairs are needed to sell the car. The UCM’s answer is then texted back to the tech and the clock begins on all the repairs. A workflow management system automates and provides notifications and alerts, reducing the maximum completion time of each task.

The coupling between the techs and the UCM drives the entire behavior of the whole process. This cooperative aspect respects everyone’s time, resulting in getting the job done faster and driving teamwork. And another important aspect is when a red flag is raised to alert to a bottleneck and related capacity. Once workflow is in place, it becomes clear when more resources are needed to keep up with the service work to be done. Taking the inefficiencies out of recon is the obvious first step, but to improve on the quality of your workplace is equally important. The system makes it visible where limits exist. Burn out is a serious personnel problem, with as much business being demanded of reconditioning techs. There is a fine line between techs desiring extra hours and management watching out for their wellbeing. This system catches tie-ups and monitors when certain workload thresholds are exceeded.

Workflow management tools are an opportunity to improve your entire recon business with much less intervention necessary. It minimizes the process time through alerts and texts, maximizes the value with its visibility and accountability, and is flexible, flagging various bottlenecks in order to take action. However, the proof is always the bottom line. When a dealership is selling 100 cars per month and two days are taken out of recon because of a workflow process system, you are essentially adding another complete inventory turn. What better barometer to base your decision to automate your reconditioning department?

Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by e-mail at

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