Retail

Rapid Changes and Your Business: Goodyear’s Kramer Says Embrace the Disruption

Bob Ulrich
Posted on March 17, 2016
“You are better in this industry than anybody else,” Rich Kramer told the Goodyear dealer conference attendees. “No matter how tires are bought or delivered, nobody is going to take your place as experts.”
“You are better in this industry than anybody else,” Rich Kramer told the Goodyear dealer conference attendees. “No matter how tires are bought or delivered, nobody is going to take your place as experts.”

Rich Kramer has been chairman and CEO of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. since October 2010. In his five-plus years at the helm, he has focused on a singular strategy: “to work from the market back” to deliver the tires dealers demand the most.

Combined with the company’s production capability — Kramer once said Goodyear’s strengths include managing its factories and tire production so that the right tires get manufactured at the right time — that strategy has brought financial stability back to the company.

At the 2016 Goodyear Dealer Conference in Washington, D.C., Kramer talked about the need to embrace change.

“Competitive advantage is not just figuring out how to sell a tire better,” he told attendees. “It’s going to be defined by the speed and effectiveness of our organization and your organization to change. That’s a big difference.

“That speed of change is really being driven by one thing: technology. Technology... has changed our lives dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years. If you text, if you stream music, if you binge watch Breaking Bad from Friday night to Sunday night on Netflix, you know what I’m talking about. Those are simple examples, but certainly we’ve seen our lives change.

“If we think the changes we’ve seen over the last 10 to 15 years are staggering, I want to tell all of you, hold onto your hats. More change is coming, and it’s going to come at even a faster pace.”

To hammer home his point, Kramer quoted John Chambers, executive chairman and former CEO of Cisco Systems Inc.

”We’re in the midst of one of the most revolutionary changes in technology that we have ever seen. And looking ahead, technology will have five to 10 times the impact of the Internet to date.”

Kramer referred to these changes as “disruption.”

“Disruption is not simply an incremental innovation or improvement of something. Disruption is something that changes an industry forever. Could be product, could be a business model, could be an insurgent competitor.

“And disruption is usually something that starts very small, is widely ignored or we miss it. It gains a foothold and then it grows into something that becomes a real competitive threat.”

He said disruption is not a new concept. It’s just more relevant than ever before. And it is being driven by advancements in technology and the new business models they’re creating.

Embrace disruption for the customer’s sake, Kramer told the dealers. “As leaders, our job is to look ahead because that’s what leaders do. We need to spend time thinking about the shift and what it means for us.”

Rich Kramer’s tire dealer challenge: ‘You have to commit to do something different’

Chairman and CEO Rich Kramer wants Goodyear tire dealers to embrace not only change, but also new experiences in order to solve problems.

“I want you to just be aware,” he told attendees at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Dealer Conference in Washington, D.C., recently. “It’s a simple thing. Go out and educate yourself on the disruptions that are going on around you. Understand the impacts to your business.”

Here are his suggestions on how to do that.

  1. Go paperless for a week.
  2. Download the Uber app.
  3. Pay your bills online.
  4. Shop online.
  5. Return something to a retailer.
  6. Buy a set of tires online. “How do you know what it feels like for your customers to do that if you don’t have the experience yourself? Go out and do it. Go to our website. Go to someone else’s. See how the experience works.”

Leaders have to “engage,” he said. “That’s what I want you to do. Just commit to do something that you normally wouldn’t do and see what it’s like.”

Related Topics: Bob Ulrich, Goodyear, News/views, Rich Kramer

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
News

Monro Will Accept Wex Fleet Cards

The 1,100-plus Monro Inc. locations in the U.S. will accept Wex Inc. fleet cards for payment. Those cards are used by 11.5 million vehicles.

News

Max Finkelstein Adds Falken and Ohtsu Brands

Max Finkelstein Inc. (MFI) is partnering with Falken Tire Corp. to distribute Falken and Ohtsu brand passenger and light truck tires throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. 

Consumers will receive “Save the Tiger” kits when they buy Uniroyal tires in October.
News

Uniroyal Wants to Save Tigers in the Wild

Three years ago, Uniroyal dealers told Michelin North America Inc. the Uniroyal brand needed to be strengthened and refreshed. Based on the feedback, Michelin started a series of initiatives that have come to fruition this year.

News

Hankook Relies on OE Tires for 2Q Sales Growth

Hankook Tire Corp. Ltd. posted net sales of 1.7 trillion won for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018. That compares to sales of 1.66 trillion won for the same period in fiscal 2017.

News

Versatile Credit Adds EasyPay Finance Option

Versatile Credit Inc. has added the EasyPay Finance option to its list of platform offerings. The "second look" option focuses on offering financing solutions to the automotive market.

Article

Unit Sales Volumes Were Up Nearly 2%

Our recent discussions with dealers leave us with a view that sell-out trends improved in May versus the prior year’s period, re-accelerating from year-over-year contractions early in the year. While always somewhat subjective, we note commentary from installers was at the highest level since October 2017. From a volume standpoint, surveyed dealers reported they saw unit sales volumes up nearly 2% relative to the previous year’s period.

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!