To follow up on the “Sunny Days” article that appeared in this issue of Tire Review, we sat down with Charles van Heusden, manager of training and product development at Kumho Tire USA Inc., to uncover more details about EDGE the tiremaker’s new online dealer training and support program, slated for release in the second quarter of this year.
Photo: Charles van Heusden (far right) joins Kumho brand director Rick Brennan (center) in a conversation with Dave Wilson, director of wholesale operations at America’s Best Tires of Kentucky Inc.
What is EDGE?
"EDGE is a Web-based interactive training program and a work in progress. EDGE is more than a PowerPoint presentation.
"The training incorporates narration and reading material, so the trainee has the option to select the manner in which he/she would like to study the material.
"There are several sections, and within each section, there are modules. Upon completion of each section, there will be a quiz. So, there is work involved.
"EDGE will provide constructive training training not just on Kumho and our products. The program will encompass training on tire technology, tire pressure fundamentals, plus-size fitments and selling skills, to name but a few. It is definitely a work in progress. We will continue to develop and focus on several other subjects in the industry. The subjects I mentioned we plan on developing first. We plan to develop several automotive-related subjects in the future. Kumho will do the research and provide the information to our dealers through EDGE.”
How exactly will EDGE work?
“Being Web based, the training program provides flexibility to the sales associate. For example, a sales associate will be able to study at home or at the retail outlet. Each sales associate will need to create his/her own login and password. When the sales associate is interrupted, he will be able to log out. When time permits, the sales associate will be able to log back in and have the option to continue where he/she left off within the section or start from the beginning.
“Once he/she completes all of the modules within a section, the sales associate will take the quiz. When the sales associate answers one question incorrectly, the program enables he/she to review the material for the question answered incorrectly. After the review, the sales associate will be able to complete the quiz. Once a section has been completed, the trainee will be rewarded. The EDGE training program is very user friendly.”
How was EDGE initially developed?
"Here at Kumho, we see the value in training; training results in growth. The automotive industry is changing, with vehicles becoming more specialized as technology advances. Kumho Tire management saw the need for a training program that will assist our sales force and provide a tool for our dealers to assist in training.”
How will EDGE be different from other tire manufacturer training programs?
"EDGE will be very user friendly. It will be an incentivized program. We will develop training programs none of our competitors currently have. The focus is having information all in one place. EDGE will be an all-around training program, providing skills to enhance and promote growth. Our vision is to provide a training tool to our dealers that will assist in selling Kumho tires. For example, we want to provide a tool to our dealers that will explain how to sell large-diameter mud terrain tires, for which the vehicle is subject to a 7-inch suspension lift with a 10-inch wide wheel with a 4.5-inch back spacing on the wheel.”
How will dealers benefit from using EDGE?
“The demanding day-to-day business does not always allow our dealers to take the time to do the research on relative subjects in the industry. There are so many Web sites, magazines and manuals that provide information, but having information all at the same place is the difference. Kumho’s aim is to provide the sales associate with a tool he/she can use to make the sale.
“We feel, at Kumho, that education is growth. EDGE is education driving growth and excellence. If we want to grow, we feel it is very important to provide a tool for our dealers to train their people.”
Is EDGE designed for a specific type of tire dealer for example, commercial, passenger, retail or wholesale?
“No, not at all. We will not limit participation in the EDGE program. Wholesale, retail, general technicians and commercial sales associates are welcome to take part in the program. We plan on developing a commercial section.”
What feedback have you received so far from dealers?
“Upon request, at our dealer meeting in Cancun, the Kumho dealers were provided with the opportunity to share their thoughts on training. EDGE received positive feedback from the dealer surveys.”
How will EDGE support Kumho’s overall strategic branding goals?
“The EDGE training program, not being limited and made available, will, for one, assist in creating awareness. EDGE will provide a corporate profile and history of Kumho. That will assist dealers with overall knowledge of Kumho. If dealers and their technicians know who Kumho is, they can better recommend Kumho tires to customers."
How can dealers sign up for EDGE?
"Once the program is ready, we plan on sending a notification letter to notify our dealers. Our dealers will not be subject to any cost when they join in the EDGE training program. Kumho believes education is growth and that growth will come from good education."