DETROIT -- General Motors wants to simplify dealers' vehicle ordering when it rolls out a Web-based system this year.
John Smith, group vice president for vehicle sales, service and marketing, said the new system, called Workbench, came about because GM's Vehicle Ordering Management System is "still not good enough."
"We know we're not the easiest to do business with," Smith says. "Some of our business-to-business systems are kind of klutzy and time-consuming."
GM developed the new system after dealers complained that its existing business-to-business systems were a patchwork of printed material, separate Web sites and programs on servers, says Bob Muiter, director of North American order fulfillment.
For instance, dealers might have to log out of the vehicle ordering system to get related material from another system, and other printed material is hand-delivered to dealers by field representatives.
Muiter says GM will start using the Workbench ordering system in the third quarter. It will be followed over the next several years with systems for sales, service, parts and business administration.
He says the system will:
But, he adds, dealers did not want to scrap the once-hated VOMS business process. GM has improved that process since its difficult launch in 1998. Dealers complained initially about technical glitches and the requirement that they order vehicles 90 days in advance, but GM defended the system as a way to better match demand with production.
Checking out dealers' complaints about the current system, GM found that "we were fairly equivalent to our domestic competitors, but not to the imports" in the administrative load it put on dealers, Muiter says. It created Workbench after studying how work is done at dealerships and testing it with dealers.