Recon: “Telling It Like It Is”

Notes from Operations Manager to GM…

From time to time a real gem crosses my desk that simply tells it like it is. The following are excepts from an email sent from an operations manager to his GM. The operations manager make a compelling case that, in order to fix their dealership’s reconditioning problem, they need a specific workflow solution. The GM remains steadfast, standing by his position that there is not a problem.

General Manager: I don’t think software or technology is the problem. If technology were to blame, then “Mechanical.” “Recon” and “Detail” would be slow. The consistantly slow areas are “Cosmetic” and “Photos,” along with coordination of the three “Recon” steps. I think we have a “getting the work done” problem, not a technology problem.”

Operations Manager:  If you ask me, along with my Body,” “PDI” and Detail” technicians and my photographer. we do not have a “cycle-time” issues. We have an “estimate” and “vehicle availability” issue. In my opinion, the primary reason that “Mechanical” and “Detail” are so successful is that they have control of the vehicle. Their operations must be done in order for the vehicle to be sold; therefore, the vehicle stays in that process. Its not the same with “Cosmetic.”

OM: Clearly, there is a difference of opinion here. And, our opportunity is just that: opinions. All parties are basing the reconditioning cycle time on opinion, not “factual evidence.” Our owner once informed me that, “Faith without evidence is for Sundays.” Since we work Monday through Saturday, I believe it’s time for accountability and solid metrics.

OM: The “Recon” team (me included) manages the “Recon” process from 10,000 feet — meaning, we throw the vehicle into the process and pray it makes it out of our three phases in five days or less. Where we fall short is assuming our “Recon” process is only three steps, when in reality it’s 13 steps — from “Recon Start” to the “Front-line.” We are missing
the other 10 steps in between “Detail,” “Mechanical,” and “Cosmetic”
— making it impossible to see any problems, track cycle time, manage workflow and, more importantly, to hold our people accountable without any transparency.

This is how we look at our current “Recon” management

  1. Detail
  2. Mechanical
  3. Cosmetic


This is reality.

  1. Purchased Vehicles In-transit
  2. Trade Not Cleared
  3. Inspection (Recon starts here)
  4. Waiting Detail
  5. In-Detail
  6. Detail Sublet
  7. Photos, Stickers and Packets
  8. Waiting Service
  9. In-service
  10. Parts Hold
  11. UCM Approval
  12. Off-site Warranty
  13. Body
  14. Final QC
  15. Loaned Out to Sales
  16. Front-Line
  17. Detail Rework
  18. Mechanical Rework
  19. Cosmetic Rework
  20. Wholesale
  21. At Auction


OM: Workflow is a tool that will allow us to finally manage our reconditioning. It will identify our areas of opportunity, create and enforce accountability and accurately (with viable evidence) measure our true cycle time. I also believe that problems are solved through people and processes. Processes need structure, and this tool can provide the basis for that structure.

To be fair about the above excerpts, because there are so many purported technology solutions in the automotive industry, it is hard to single out this GM for being skeptical. Reconditioning, on the other hand, has lagged behind like a forgotten stepsister when it comes to replacing manual process controls. With a new, real-time workflow solution, designed specifically to change the dynamics in reconditioning centers, hundreds of dealerships across the U.S. and Canada are enthusiastically adopting this new tool with verifiable results. If you are a dealer and want to connect with other dealers who will share their evidence, just call or email me. Oh, and the GM said, “Yes – let’s go!”

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


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