Average Days In Recon / Reconditioning By The Numbers

Are you measuring your Average Days in Recon? If the answer is “no,” then your actual all-inclusive number is probably double what you would like everyone to believe it is. And even worse, you may not even know what your recon team already knows about those numbers. Every 2.5 days of recon time adds another inventory turn, and the starting average at the low end is typically 10 days when it should be five days.

My previous AutoSuccess articles have focused on the importance of knowing where all your recon cars are at all times, which is possible to do with a new workflow technology and your mobile phone. Having this time-sensitive information made available right in the palm of your hand enables decision making to be done anywhere, any time.

The next level of recon control is responding to the “load,” or available manpower, across your resources. The first order of business would be balancing the load across your techs, followed by detail, photos, parts and even subcontractors. The importance of this load, or balance, is having a plan to get all the work completed without having any bottlenecks, which cause delay.

Below is one workflow example of how this may be accomplished:

  1. Purchase/Trade Intake
  2. Initial Photos
  3. Waiting Shop Dispatch (10 to 30 cars)
    • Matt (one to three cars)
    • Jason (one to three cars)
    • Shane (one to three cars)
    • Bill (one to three cars)
    • Main Shop (Back-up)
  4. Parts Hold
  5. UCM Approval
  6. Bodyshop
  7. Detail
  8. Final Photos
  9. Front Line Ready/QA


Four techs can each handle 35 to 40 cars/month, be dedicated to recon, share customer pay work
or rotate into recon to support the intake rate. Cars in “Waiting for Shop” are completely visible
and color-coded based on hours in that step. Each tech performing inspections will electronically communicate the recommended repairs to the UCM in sufficient detail, including costs, for the approval of all or a subset of the repairs. The UCM, using a mobile phone, can respond in minutes from anywhere, which puts the UCM in the ideal “sense of urgency” position. At this point, the tech then pulls all parts and completes the mechanical work.

An interesting point that has been uncovered with this approach is that the techs like the ability to control what is displayed as “complete.” This also allows them to compare their averages against other techs. Management can then adjust the number of techs needed to minimize the number of cars waiting for dispatch.

This past year, more dealers have found more success by replacing their ineffective spreadsheet with a real-time workflow system. These dealerships have taken a huge leap forward, allowing
each of them to ne tune their individual reconditioning processes. This online system provides
an automatic data feed which ensures accountability and transparency at each step of the recon process. All this gets measured for a true calculation of time to market. Armed with this real-time data, management can now establish measurable goals to incentivize their recon team to make sure that everyone shares a visible component of the goal.

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

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