Purchasing Manager | Tire Discounters
Charles Goodyear revolutionized the rubber industry when he discovered the vulcanization of rubber, protected by his U.S. Patent 3633. The filing of this patent can be seen as a starting point for the modern tire industry. It is in recognition of his fierce determination and accomplishment that our Club 3633 takes its name. The Tire Review Club 3633 celebrates and recognizes the next generation of innovators — those who continue to shape and advance our industry. We welcome the 2019 Class of Club 3633 members and applaud their accomplishments with our sincere congratulations.
Chris Albertz had always been a car guy, but he never thought he’d work in the automotive industry until he snagged a job as a tire technician in the Cincinnati area with Tire Discounters about 17 years ago.
“A friend of mine was working here [at Tire Discounters] as a tire tech, and he knew I needed a second job to make more money,” Albertz explains. “He said, ‘Come here. We need some people. We can work together.’ I did that for a month and worked two jobs, but the opportunity at Tire Discounters was just too good…. So, I said, ‘This is a no-brainer.’”
During his time as a tire tech, he contemplated other career choices until his manager at the time recommended he put his name in to be an assistant store manager. After getting the job, Albertz worked his way up in the organization, serving as a service manager then general manager, and finally moved to his current role as purchasing manager. Currently, he oversees tire buying for Tire Discounters’ 120+ stores.
“My job is very hands on,” Albertz says. “I’m working side-by-side with our sales staff, and I know the decisions that I make with regard to a store stock plan are going to help our customers because we have the right product in the stores ready to go. It helps our sales staff, and, ultimately, our company succeed, so it’s really kind of a win-win-win for everybody.”
During a week’s time, Albertz spends one to two days on the road visiting with store managers and sales staff to be sure that their stock plans are optimized and accurate to meet customers’ needs, using months’ worth of sell-out data to make changes for store stock plans as needed.
Chris Wood, Tire Discounters’ senior vice president, says Chris goes above and beyond to connect with stores and make the right decisions for the company.
“I’ve been in the industry over 40 years, and I’ve never seen someone who connects so deeply at the store level to optimize their assortment,” Wood says. “Chris Albertz has made a tremendous impact on our organization and our customers.”
With almost 20 years in the tire business under his belt, Albertz says one of the biggest challenges on the job has been getting used to the proliferation of SKUs.
“There are a lot more tire sizes out there today than there were 10 years ago, so we really have to be at the top of our game to make sure we have options in stock,” Albertz says. “We have to know what’s coming so that we can have those options available.”
Already opening five stores this year, Tire Discounters is — and has been — in expansion mode. For Albertz, that means putting in the work with other Tire Discounters executives and those on his team to get those stores ready and running on opening day.
“Chris Wood and I get together, and we basically make a stock plan based off of vehicle information and some other aspects, and so it takes a lot of time. You basically have to go size by size for the top 60 or 80 sizes and say how many options do we need to have? What kind of pricing points do we need to have? Things like that,” Albertz explains. “It’s very detail oriented.
“I also have various responsibilities when it comes to setting up new stores,” he continues. “I manage our dumpster providers, our scrap tire providers and things of that nature, so there’s a lot that goes on.”
Albertz mentioned another trend he’s seen in the industry is tires getting larger and larger. He says the newer Tire Discounters stores have been built with inventory shelves that have a bit more flex room for the tire so that shelving can be adjusted for bigger sizes.
Despite the chaos that can oftentimes come with a new store opening, Albertz says he keeps up with tire trade publications to stay informed of what’s going on in the industry. He also stays connected with Tire Discounters’ tire manufacturer partners to be sure that the company is staying ahead of the curve.
“If I do my job right, our stores are going to have tires in stock for every customer vehicle and ideally at every price point that we’re going to need,” Albertz says, “and, in turn, that’s great for our store and great for our company.”
Fun Fact: “I love grilling, smoking meat and various other foods,” Chris says. “If any of your readers were like me and wondering if smoking meat lives up to the hype… It does.”