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How Your PDR Business Can Improve Cycle Time

How Your PDR Business Can Improve Cycle Time

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One of the most important things in the PDR business is cycle time. Regardless of anything else, your cycle time is a distinct measurement for how efficient your operation is running, how profitable your business is, and your quality of customer service. As a business, you are always trying to improve, and there are always ways you can improve your cycle time.

In an article by Elite Body Shop Solutions, Dave Luerh, he suggests that PDR and collision repair businesses can use Little’s Law to make impactful changes to their business and increase their understanding of cycle time.

Little’s Law is a mathematical formula created by MIT Professor, John Little, as a way to track and calculate cycle time. For the PDR business, cycle time begins when a customer’s vehicle is made available for service, and ends when they accept it back.

Below is a visual representation of how Little’s Law works. In the example created by Dave Luerh, it shows a PDR / collision business that works on two vehicles per day. However, the shop has ten vehicles overall to work on.

So, to put it simply, 10 cars total, divided by 2 cars a day, equals 5 total days total for cycle time.

10 Car Cycle Time


Now, we have created a second visual that represents the same PDR shop, but now business has grown. Using Little’s Law, we can look at how the cycle time would look, below.

So, it would be 20 cars total, divided by 2 cars a day, which then equals 10 total days for your cycle time.

20 Car Cycle Time

There are many factors that come into play when you’re looking to reduce your cycle time. The first, and most obvious change, would be to reduce the amount of time spent on each individual vehicle. However, you also don’t want to reduce it so much that there’s no work for your PDR technicians– so, you want it to be in line with the amount of business you are receiving.

In the reverse, if you spend too much time on individual vehicles, your cycle time will likely increase and your business will be negatively impacted as a result.

In order to figure out what your ideal cycle time would be, Dave Luerh suggests that you should simply do the math in reverse and has created a sample scenario, below.

  1. You should try to figure out the average amount of vehicles you perform PDR on daily (take the total amount of vehicles you repair and divide it by the days in the month).
  2. Choose an amount of time that you’d like to consistently (and realistically) perform PDR.
  3. Then, multiply PDR jobs completed daily by your ideal PDR time, and that will equal your optimal amount of jobs you can work on at one time.

If you’re like many, you don’t want to constantly do the math to figure out how to optimize your cycles. There are software solutions offered on the market that are designed to help make your PDR business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your business is operating at optimal capacity. We will discuss several of these software options in forthcoming articles.

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