Over the second weekend in March, more than 200 tire dealers gathered in an exclusive resort nestled high in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania. Altitudes were high and so were spirits at the fourth annual Jack Williams Tire Industry Show.
Jack Williams Tire Co. finished a record year for equipment sales in 2004, and the tire wholesaler and retailer has set the stage for increased distribution throughput for 2005.
Dealers in attendance were customers of Jack Williams Tire Co. and members of the American Car Care Center (ACCC) dealer network.
A mini-trade show complemented business presentations by Bill Williams, chairman and CEO of Jack Williams Tire Co., and Dave Crawford, marketing director for ACCC. In addition, representatives from tire industry vendors, including the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Michelin North America (MNA), Toyo Tire (USA) Corp., UniSource Capital and Automotive Training Institute (ATI), were invited to address dealers.
And those vendors had exciting news to share. MNA, for example, plans to release six additional H- and V-rated sizes of its Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring tire in 2005. And, Goodyear announced that eight new sizes of its Assurance tire line will hit the market in the second quarter of this year.
Williams told dealers that his company is continually modernizing its warehousing and distribution operations to keep up with the ever-increasing number of SKUs needed to compete in today’s tire industry. “In 1984, there were about 64 tire sizes and five rim diameters,” he said. “In 2004, there were 249 tire sizes and 11 rim diameters.”
To this end, Jack Williams Tire has added additional infrastructure, including an “ultra-modern storage and shipping system and custom-developed inventory forecasting, ordering and distribution software,” Williams said.
“Our goal is to offer the best inventory coverage in the Northeast,” Williams told dealers.
Additionally, Itracks the Web site where dealers can place orders and check inventory around the clock, located at www.jackwilliams.com/wholesale will be updated to include links to product images and data sheets, a new markup calculator and enhanced search capabilities, said Williams.
During the ACCC business meeting, Crawford told dealers that the marketing group continues to develop relationships that will help dealers grow their businesses. For example, ACCC signed a three-year commitment with TIA in 2004, which affords dealers representation on Capitol Hill as well as TIA-sponsored certification and training opportunities, Crawford said.
The marketing group also established a new link with Baltimore-based ATI, Crawford said. He invited dealers to attend a seminar that weekend given by Chris “Chubby” Frederick, president of ATI. Frederick’s presentation offered a sneak preview of his “Cash Profits Boot Camp” seminar, slated for Apr. 12 in Avoca, Pa. The hour-long preview covered various business management topics applicable to tire dealers.
And, ACCC dealers will be introduced to three new tires this year, Crawford continued. Those new tires will be manufactured by the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. Since ACCC has traditionally been aligned with Michelin products, Crawford was quick to note that “we are not leaving the MAST (Michelin Americas Small Tires) organization.” As capacity tightens, more tires are being forced offshore, Crawford noted. “We’ll be transitioning a line of tires over to the Cooper family over the next couple of years,” he said.
The new tires are targeted at “premium” markets, Crawford said. In March, ACCC had already started shipping to Jack Williams Tire new Platinum T-speed-rated, premium-level tires, new Prospector A/P SUV tires and new Prospector A/T tires.
For 2005, ACCC plans to put more emphasis on dealer communications, Crawford said. A monthly newsletter, refresher kits mailed each February and July, as well as e-mail blasts to dealers will strengthen communications.