TireConnect, a platform owned by Bridgestone Americas Inc., is “trying to remove pain points” for independent tire dealers, says Vice President George Silagadze, and the latest innovation is designed to help dealers automatically replenish tire inventory as units are sold.
And while larger tire dealerships likely already have their own platforms in place to manage inventory levels and replenishment, Silagadze says it remains an unsolved problem for smaller tire dealerships. Typically, those dealers are manually tracking tires sold each day and then looking for replacement units on multiple websites from the various tire wholesalers who deliver product to a particular store.
But the latest addition to TireConnect allows dealers to note which wholesalers it wants to utilize, prioritize them, and also set inventory levels and replenishment guidelines for specific brands, lines and tire sizes. Dealers can see live inventory levels of their own warehouse(s) for a particular product, as well as a product's availability at its chosen wholesaler warehouses.
And while all the information can be accessed and managed from the TireConnect platform, Silagadze says it can also integrate “with about 25 point-of-sale systems.” Dealers can also choose how automated they want the ordering to be — so if a dealer wants to review the data manually or just approve orders before they’re placed, those are options — as is making it fully automated.
After launching the system just a couple of weeks ago, Silagadze says the initial tests have spanned more than 35,000 orders and included 112,000 tires.
The system can also monitor the tires a dealer already has on hand in its own local warehouse and pick from that stock first, rather than looking to order the re-order the product from a wholesaler’s warehouse. Silagadze says TireConnect is “always trying to be agile” in responding to tire dealers’ needs, but also the needs of its partnering wholesalers.
The service is available in both the U.S. and Canada, and in the U.S. includes about 50 participating wholesalers, meaning those wholesalers pay TireConnect “a small fee” for each tire ordered. That then allows the wholesaler’s customer to utilize the system without cost. Three large wholesalers aren’t yet “participating wholesalers,” Silagadze says: U.S. Autoforce, NTW and American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD.) (Retail dealers who order from those wholesalers can still use the replenishment tool, but they’ll also have to cover the fee.)
Silagadze says wholesalers who pay the fee benefit not only from helping their customers streamline their replenishment process, but also in the dashboards of data they receive access to that provide a current picture of the market.
TireConnect is offering demonstrations of the tool at booth No. 41161 in South Hall Lower.