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Commercial Tire Suppliers Share Timely Advice for Dealers

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"Continue to focus on service and don’t be afraid to charge for it," says Steve Sutherland, vice president, commercial dealer sales, Bridgestone Americas Inc.

| Photo Credit: Bridgestone Americas

What should commercial truck tire dealers do to push their companies forward during the second half of 2022? Manufacturers and suppliers share some tips in this MTD exclusive.


Gary Hendricks, general manager, commercial products, North America, Apollo Tyres: Align your company with a supplier that focuses on mutual success and your company’s profitability. Focus on providing your customers with the best service you can provide in the markets you serve. Forecasting becomes more crucial for both dealers and their suppliers in terms of manufacturing consistencies and improved supply dependability. Pricing headwinds will continue to be an issue, which further illuminates the importance of providing your customers value for money spent. 


Steve Sutherland, vice president, commercial dealer sales, Bridgestone Americas Inc.: Continue to focus on service and don’t be afraid to charge for it. Labor costs have gone up significantly over the past two years and they must be passed along. As the challenges that began in 2020 continue to persist, continue to communicate regularly with your manufacturer partners to ensure visibility to challenges and opportunities that may impact business.


Walt Weller, senior vice president, CMA/Double Coin: Nothing really different than what we see most dealers doing at the moment. Be vigilant, plan for extended lead times - 30 to 60 days extra and maybe more - and be in constant communication with your suppliers, as well as your customers.


Rob Williams, senior vice president, TBR sales, Hankook Tire North America: For dealers, the most important strategy is to have a keen understanding of market dynamics and constant changes occurring to prepare for inventory levels and fleet demand. It is beneficial to manage backorders closely as many manufacturers are working on filling backorders with minimal products available to purchase on-hand. Also dealers should consider further consolidating SKUs to focus on high runners that may be more readily available, as well as having strong alignments with their preferred manufacturers to keep inventory readily available in their pipeline. 


Rick Phillips, CEO, Keter Tire USA Inc.: Don’t get distracted and keep doing the things that make you successful. Take care of your people, stay close to your customers and communicate with your suppliers. Your people are essential to delivering quality service. Your customers not only provide the revenue that keeps your business alive, but they also have the point-of-the-spear kind of information you need to work with your suppliers to provide a viable supply plan.  ere are so many external factors a ecting (dealers’) business that it’s hard to predict what might happen next. 


Ken Coltrane, vice president, marketing and product development, Prinx Chengshan Tire North America Inc.: Partner with a reputable supplier with high-quality tires that allow you to capitalize on the downstream retreading benefits. 


Alan Eagleson, TBR segment manager, Sailun Tire Americas: Position yourself with strong suppliers who have an understanding of all of the challenges mentioned. Dealers should have a Plan B for supply should there be delays with their current suppliers. Although it requires additional financial resources, I would recommend dealers keep an additional 30 days of inventory on hand, over and above what they would normally stock. Continue to keep orders in the pipeline. 


Nick Guttierez, sales director, Sentury Tire USA: Stay consistent and partner with suppliers that continue to deliver and have capacity. Time is money and we believe that on-demand information will alleviate some frustrations and help dealers have the most control possible during tumultuous times. 


Bill Dashiell, senior vice president, product marketing for commercial products, TBC Corp.: Demand will continue to be strong, even if not at the current robust pace. Therefore, commercial truck tire dealers should partner with strong suppliers and manage their inventory to maximize in-stock tires. 


Joaquin Gonzalez Jr., president, Tire Group International: In terms of current dynamics for commercial dealers, I am seeing more and more of them begin to increase inventory levels and buy ahead of price increase. This is a 180 from the last five years, where we have been in a price-declining market and dealers relied on distributors to deliver just-in-time inventory. This way dealers benefited from the very best market price. Over the last 18 months, that dynamic has shifted. This has prompted dealers to start investing in their inventory. 


Dave Johnston, senior manager, commercial products and business development, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.: Truck tire dealers will need to rely on their existing relationships with tire manufacturers to ensure their customers have tires. And tires that have a durable casing will rise in value as retreading will continue to be a large part of the equation — particularly in the U.S. market, as more fleets are looking to incorporate retreading to mitigate supply challenges in the near term. 


Demetric Mass, national sales manager, truck tires, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America Inc.: The commercial truck industry is fortunate to have a professional community of dealers. My advice to them is to focus their experience and knowledge on predicting their needs in the months ahead and communicating with their manufacturers’ reps. Help your reps help you.


Dan Funkhouser, vice president of commercial sales, Yokohama Tire Corp.: They should choose their long-term partners carefully. Remember those that have continued to work closely with them during this period of relative volatility because they are the ones that value the business and can appreciate the issues that dealers are facing every day. 


Merry Wang, general manager, Zhongce Rubber Group Co. Ltd./ZC Rubber: With the shipping situation getting tight again, the commercial tire supply (will tighten) again. 

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