Fleets Need Help With Repairs
Many fleets perform their own tire repairs for better or worse. Dealers and retreaders can either curse their bad luck at losing potential business or take advantage of the situation.
At first glance, it appears dealers and retreaders lose business when fleets do their own tire repairs. A deeper look shows that partnering with fleets on tire repair can actually maintain or even increase the current amount of business the dealer or retreader does with fleets. Fleets will find the help they desire it’s up to dealers and retreaders to make sure they’re the ones to which fleets turn.
“When a fleet decides to do their own repairs it presents a real opportunity for dealers and retreaders,” said Jay McMillan, vice president of sales and marketing for Rema Tip Top/North America. ®A repair technician is only as good as the training he gets, and dealers and retreaders can become a tremendous friend to fleets by providing excellent training.®
Fleets view tire repair as a profit center technicians and facilities are already in place, and there’s no downtime waiting for a tire to return from an off-site repair facility. But that profit can quickly turn to loss if improper repairs cause the tire to come back for re-repair. And if the fleet technician doesn’t know how to repair tires, his time would be better spent on brake jobs or other vehicle service.
“There are obvious advantages for retreaders in ensuring fleets perform proper repairs,” McMillan points out. ®The lifeblood of retreaders is good casings. If fleets are ruining tires through a botched repair, there are less good casings for retreaders to use. And there’s more profit in using one’s capacity for retreading as opposed to repairs,® he said.
Starts With Training
It’s the little things that ruin a tire. A fleet technician may repair a nail hole and to all appearances has done a good job. But other injuries may be present which an improperly trained technician can miss. Something as simple as failing to clean rust from frayed cables can cause tire failure often in another part of the tire as the rust expands.
Proper repair begins with proper tire analysis. Even experienced repair technicians may miss the root cause for tire failure. A casual visual inspection often fails to reveal the true nature of the problem. Fleets need education from a reliable source.
“Dealers must realize that each fleet needs a tire repair champion, someone who shares the responsibility of tire maintenance,” McMillan said. ®If a dealer is willing to help a fleet, they’ll keep that account. Remember, there will always be someone willing to step in and help a fleet it might as well be you.®
Fleet repair technicians need training. Dealers can work as facilitators for fleets by having companies such as Rema come in and provide hands-on training seminars. The dealer gets the credit for going the extra mile on behalf of the fleet, solidifying the dealer/fleet relationship, and the fleet gains proficiency and, therefore, profitability.
McMillan points out that Rema gladly works hand-in-hand with dealers desiring to help train fleets in proper tire repair techniques. “Our sales and service group will bring in one of our Mobile Training Units, take along key dealer personnel, and go right to the fleet’s repair facility for training,” he said. ®We can explain the theory of tire repair, the procedures for proper repair, and make sure the fleet has the appropriate equipment and repair material.®
Sell Them Repair Products
Dealers and retreaders may find additional profit by selling repair material to fleets. Once trust and cooperation are established through a repair education program, the fleet is most likely to turn to the dealer for materials.
Of course, with all this support from dealers, fleets may decide to tackle more than nail-hole repairs and graduate to section repair. In that case education is even more vital.
“Partnership becomes absolutely necessary in that situation,” McMillan said. ®Fleets are usually ill-prepared to take on section repairs, and they’re going to have to rely on someone to help them. This presents a perfect opportunity for the dealer or retreader to facilitate education of the fleet through someone like us.
“Precision in repair is key when tackling either nail-hole or section repair,” McMillan points out. ®Without a teacher and partner, the fleet will face a lack of proficiency. The dealer can cement the relationship by stepping in at that juncture. ®We and the entire industry offer so many tools for dealers to help fleets that there really isn’t any excuse for a dealer tossing up his hands and declaring the fleet business is gone,® McMillan said.
“When a fleet decides to perform their own repairs, that’s when the dealer needs to aggressively step in, rather than back off and give up.”