By July 31, General Motors will decommission its satellite-based dealership parts ordering system, known as RAPID.
Remote Automated Parts Input for Dealers is based on GM's Pulsat satellite, says Eric Hylen, GM's parts system manager.
When GM launched Pulsat in 1991, it was the world's largest privately owned satellite network. It linked GM's corporate headquarters and all its dealerships.
Starting July 31, the dealerships will place, track and revise parts orders using GM's new Internet-based Parts Workbench.
Dealerships can enter Parts Workbench through the GM DealerWorld Web site or through their dealership management system.
GM has provided new specifications to all 21 dealership management system vendors that have GM dealership customers, Hylen says.
"All but four or five are certified" and are piloting the new system, he says. Rollout is to begin within a few weeks.
Says Mike Esposito, president of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, of Clifton Park, N.Y.: "With almost half of a dealer's operating profits coming from its service and parts department, getting a new service like this up and running as fast as possible is critical for our GM dealership customers." Auto/Mate is a dealership management system vendor that has completed integration with Parts Workbench.
GM will continue to use its Pulsat satellite network for video training sessions with dealerships. Hylen says that function may switch over to the Internet as well.