DETROIT -- General Motors has retreated from a controversial policy that required dealership service technicians to essentially punch a time clock for every repair order.
GM in the spring began enforcing a previously ignored rule that required dealers to report their service techs' hours for not only warranty repairs, but customer-pay work and repairs to vehicles in dealers' own fleets.
GM characterized the policy as a way for dealers to track their techs' productivity and for the automaker to keep closer tabs on its warranty expenses.
But dealers cried foul, complaining that the rules sapped productivity and left them more susceptible to costly charges if GM auditors found errors or omissions on their service techs' time sheets.
"It was a huge administrative burden. Dealers were pretty much in an uproar," said Richard Gonzales, service director at Vera Motors in Pembroke Pines, Fla., which sells Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Requiring technicians to log in and out for each of the sometimes dozens of jobs they work on every day was too time consuming, Gonzales said.
And a related rule that prohibited techs from working on more than one job at a time also was problematic, dealership service directors say. Mechanics routinely work on multiple repairs at once. For example, a tech might start a software reset that could take 45 minutes to download, then move on to an oil change or another job.