Wholesale Distribution

K&M Tire Conference Helps Dealers Advance

Joy Kopcha
Posted on March 17, 2017
Bruce and Mary Faulkner talk about farm tires at the BKT booth with Loudan Hammersmith, left, and Dave Paulk, sales managers for the tire maker. Bruce Faulker manages the tire department and service center at Provision Partners Cooperative in Stratford, Wis., and he was among the 350 tire dealers to attend K&M’s annual conference.
Bruce and Mary Faulkner talk about farm tires at the BKT booth with Loudan Hammersmith, left, and Dave Paulk, sales managers for the tire maker. Bruce Faulker manages the tire department and service center at Provision Partners Cooperative in Stratford, Wis., and he was among the 350 tire dealers to attend K&M’s annual conference.

As independent tire dealers battle the competition, they often search for the one thing that will help them stand out. At the 2017 K&M Tire Inc. annual dealer conference in Overland Park, Kan., the wholesaler provided a day-and-a-half event full of educational sessions to help dealers identify those opportunities.

The tips applied to every kind of dealer, from those who focus on farm tires to others who depend on consumer tire sales and vehicle service. Here’s a roundup of five key takeaways to improve customer service, and also make more money.

1. Farm tires: Check and adjust the air pressure of tires mounted on new tractors. Chris Neidert, a salesman for Trelleborg Wheel Systems Americas Inc., said when tractors are delivered to a dealership, they usually have 30-40 psi in each tire. Neidert said the tires are filled fuller to make them more stable on delivery trailers. And even though new equipment dealers check over lots of features, Neidert said the tires typically get missed. It only takes a tire dealer a few moments to calculate the correct tire pressure using the weight of the tractor, axle load, the highest speed the farmer intends to drive, and the appropriate load table from a tire manufacturer’s technical manual. There are also mobile apps to do the math. Here’s the formula, which you use twice, once for the front tires and again for the rear tires: Take the tractor’s total weight, multiply it by the percentage of the weight that’s distributed on either the front or rear axle. Divide that number by the number of tires on the axle, and use that figure with a load table to determine the correct pressure. (In the case of dual wheel tires, you multiply the figure by 1.12, which Neidert said is a safety factor to ensure enough air pressure is used.) In one of his examples, the correct tire pressure was 15 psi, less than half the pressure from the new tractor’s delivery. Neidert said making that adjustment will have a huge impact on a dealer’s customer — it will give the tire better traction, provide for even wear, and reduce soil compaction. In the long run, it will save the farmer money, and, “in their eyes, you’ll become the tire professional.”

2. The right focus: Jon Petz is a motivational speaker and magician, and he used some magic to drive home a few points about owning and operating a business. He said there’s value not only in learning new things, but also in “unlearning.” Some practices are meant to be changed, and Petz said “as owners and leaders you need to unlearn” on a regular basis. Petz also said it’s easy for business owners and managers to get too focused on a detail and lose sight of the bigger picture. “Focus is critical, but perspective is priceless.”

3. Service: Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of training for the Tire Industry Association, said when it comes to training tire technicians, on-the-job training “is inconsistent, rarely compliant and totally dependent on the knowledge, experience and attitude of the trainer.” And that’s simply not good enough to stand up in court, nor is it sufficient to pass an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection, he said. It’s also not a strong enough backbone to make good service a part of a dealership’s brand.

4. Lunch: Rohlwing offered another way to help good service shine at tire dealerships. He knows of a business owner who carries restaurant gift cards in his pocket. When someone in his dealership performs great service he thanks the employee, hands the worker a gift card and says to “have lunch on me.” Rohlwing said dealers should consider the potential impact of rewarding one employee a week with a $10 gift card. “How far can that go for your brand?”

5. TPMS: Servicing a vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) has never been easier — really, said John Rice, who manages TPMS products and support for 31 Inc. He offered three pieces of evidence: There are universal tools. There are universal sensors covering 90% of vehicles. And even though there are still plenty of varieties, TPMS relearn procedures have gotten easier. On top of that, TPMS is good for business, he said. “You should be checking all the sensors of every vehicle that comes in.” When the federal law mandated TPMS in passenger vehicles 10 years ago, it gave original equipment sensor manufacturers a 20-minute window to warn motorists of a problem. That means a motorist could come into your dealership for an oil change with an existing TPMS problem, but the light isn’t yet shining on the dashboard. ■

Related Topics: BKT Tires (USA) Inc., Dealer meeting, K&M Tire

Joy Kopcha Senior Editor & Digital Projects Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Article

Dealers Hope New President Will be Good for Business

Each month we ask members of our National Advisory Council (NAC) a question or questions on a current hot topic. Recently we asked, “What effect do you believe Donald Trump will have on your business as president?” Here are some of their responses.

Tire Factory moved its dealer meeting out of Oregon and planned new activities for dealers, including a visit to Octane Raceway and a timed pit crew challenge. Tiffany Fox prepares to lower the jack once her teammates from Point S J&J Tire & Auto Service in Helena, Mont., finish their tire installations.
Article

Point S Rebranding Exceeds Expectations

Tire Factory Inc. members have rebranded the vast majority of their 206 stores to the Point S banner at a breakneck pace. And leaders of the Oregon-based cooperative are unveiling new programs with two big hopes: the momentum of current members continues, and more independent tire dealers join their network.

As the new chief financial officer at ATD, Williams will report directly to CEO Stuart Schuette.
News

ATD Names New CFO

American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) has hired a new chief financial officer. Bill Williams will report directly to CEO Stuart Schuette.

BKT’s ConExpo-Con/Agg booth featured its farm, ATV and UTV tires.
News

From Farm to UTV, BKT Made a Big Splash at ConExpo

The BKT USA Inc. booth at the recently completed 2017 ConExpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas gave show attendees plenty to talk about. The company showcased not only its Earthmax farm tires, including the new Earthmax SR 35, but also its ATV/UTV tire lineup.

News

Michelin Advances Tire Safety 'Beyond the Driving Test' in 40 States

Michelin North America Inc. and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the global governing body for motorsports, have secured the commitments of 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to include standard tire-safety information in driver’s manuals.

Article

Higher Raw Material and Tire Makers’ Prices Lead to Increased Tire Costs

According to the results of our survey, demand for passenger and light truck replacement tires declined slightly in January. Indeed, from a volume standpoint, the dealers reported they sold 0.1% fewer tires last month relative to the previous year’s period, following a slight increase in December and November. 

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!