Vice President of Strategy and Development | American Tire Distributors
It’s one thing to set a vision for the future, but the challenge is to make it come to life. At American Tire Distributors, Lauren Miller is the women making both happen.
Miller is vice president of strategy and business development for ATD. Along with her enterprising eight-person-team, she’s tasked with leveraging data and consumer trends to set a vision for how ATD can best serve retailers, manufacturers and consumers three to five years into the future.
“It’s an interesting space, and there’s a lot changing in the tire industry right now,” she says. “I love that even though the tire industry is centuries old, we’re always looking for new ways to improve the tire-buying experience and supply chain efficiencies.”
Life circumstances brought Miller to seek out an opportunity with ATD in 2018—the same year she got married, bought a new car (Tesla Model 3) and climbed Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Previously, she worked in various managerial roles with John Deere in the Midwest, overseeing projects for the company’s intelligent solutions group as well as delivering precision ag solutions for its customers in Latin America.
What attracted her to ATD—and her then-position as director of strategy and transformation—was the company’s willingness to innovate and collaborative spirit. Since then, she’s been promoted to her current role, where she and her team spend time studying the industry at a macro and micro level to understand how it’s evolving for retailers and consumers and what role a distributor like ATD can play in it.
“We know that e-commerce is impacting everything that you and I buy today, and that’s been a lot slower to happen in our industry, but what we’re trying to understand is what that’s going to look like in the next three to five years and what some of the unlocks are as to how consumers will interact and how we can make that more seamless for customers [retailers] as a distributor.”
Another part of Miller’s job is identifying and fostering partnerships across the tire ecosystem to help ATD better serve its customers.
“What we try to do is share the insights from the research we do with our partners so they can understand what consumers are looking for and, together, we collectively talk about how we can do a better job to serve those needs,” she says.
While blazing the path for ATD, Miller also focuses on her own professional development. To stay up-to-date, she reads the news throughout the day, including the Wall Street Journal (in print) and industry trade pubs. She also likes to tune into “The Daily” podcast from the New York Times as well as webinars about different business trends from her alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
When looking into the industry’s future, Miller says as a result of the coronavirus, she thinks the no-touch service that retailers are currently offering their customers will stick, with a move toward more online sales.
“More of that traffic that used to be the walk into your local tire store and get what they recommend, when that traffic really starts to happen online, that opens up new ways for consumers to be served,” she said. “If they’re already online, when and how they want to be served starts to look really different.”
At the end of the day, Miller says that tackling industry issues with her team to improve not only ATD’s operations but move the needle for the industry as a whole keeps her excited about the industry and the role she plays in it.
“It’s not always as easy as it seems,” she says, “but trying to figure it out with smart people keeps me motivated.”
Fun Fact: Miller enjoys spending her free time in the mountains. She’s climbed two of the world’s highest peaks—Denali in Alaska and Aconcagua in Argentina.
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 2020 Class of Club 3633 members and applaud their accomplishments with our sincere congratulations.
Check out the rest of the June digital edition of Tire Review here.