In the spring, GM began enforcing a rule that made service techs write down their hours for warranty repairs, customer-pay work and repairs to the dealers’ own vehicle fleets. The automaker said the policy made it easier to track technician’s productivity and follow their warranty expenses more closely. Dealers didn’t like the rule and argued that it reduced productivity and could set them up for extra charges if GM auditors found errors in the time sheets.
“It was a huge administrative burden. Dealers were pretty much in an uproar,” Richard Gonzales, a service director at a Cadillac, Buick and GMC dealer in Florida told AN. “Requiring technicians to log in and out for each of the sometimes dozens of jobs they work on every day was too time consuming.”
GM also backtracked on another controversial policy, which indicated service techs could only work on one job at a time. This also cut into productivity, as the techs usually work on multiple jobs at once. AN provides an example of a software reset that could take 45 minutes to download, so the tech may go and change a customer’s oil during the downtime.
GM’s vice president of North American customer care and aftersales, Tim Turvey, said a good mechanic can “be productive and efficient,” and work on multiple repairs at once. Turvey also acknowledged the concerns from dealers that they may incur additional audit-related charges if their time sheets were wrong.
“We made some pretty significant changes that we think reduce the overall administrative burden on the dealer,” Turvey said. “And this still allows us to make sure there are proper checks and balances on utilization and spending of warranty money.”