General Motors is testing an online parts ordering system designed to streamline dealership inventory and reduce the need to return surplus parts.
The program, called Retail Inventory Management, or RIM, is intended to save GM and its dealerships money. So far it is getting mixed reviews from dealers.
Some dealers say it has made ordering parts more efficient. But others say RIM costs them money because it eliminates discounts and allowances they have come to count on.
Jim Bulick, assistant parts manager of Danny Len Buick-Pontiac-GMC in Mount Dora, Fla., says the system saves time. The dealership began using it June 1, he says.
"We did a lot to prepare for it before we went live with it," Bulick says. "So far, so good."
Another parts manager, who asked not to be identified, says RIM is "not a panacea."
"In the long run, I believe it will benefit GM," he says. "But I am not so sure about it benefiting the dealers."