"A big part of that equation is getting high-quality parts into the hands of trained service technicians when and where they need them," said Tim Turvey, GM's vice president of customer care and aftersales, during the official opening of the center in August.
The UAW's strike against GM disrupted activities at the new distribution center, contributing to parts shortages at many dealerships. That lack of parts delayed warranty work and customer-pay repairs and curbed parts sales, according to dealership fixed operations directors, reducing fixed ops profits and customer satisfaction. In response, some GM dealerships sought to obtain repair parts and loaner vehicles for service customers from other providers.
Turvey told Fixed Ops Journal that the new parts plant, at full operation, will help GM improve its fill rate, a measurement of the parts that automakers have on hand and can ship to dealers immediately, without back orders or other delays. Fill rate is a key metric of the efficiency of parts operations.
Under GM's parts distribution system, the facility usually won't ship components directly to dealerships. Instead, the parts that leave the center will go first to what GM calls "facing parts distribution centers" — 12 regional facilities that serve dealerships in their local markets. But in isolated instances, Turvey noted, if a dealership needs a part that one of the regional centers can't supply, the Burton facility will ship it directly.