Location! Location! Location?
A few years ago, at least at first glance, one would have thought of a dealer’s success in the OTR tire market was all about Location! Location! Location! If you were correctly positioned geographically, had talented service pros, had access to decent products, and maintained a good relationship with the customer, you had a sizeable leg up on the competition.
To be successful in today’s OTR tire market, the commitment and business savvy this industry demands is huge! Not only from a dollars standpoint. You must also possess an acute business sense and understand the value of strategically aligning your company with your customer base. And in most cases these days, the potential of your customer base can be extremely limited in terms of the number of potential customers in your marketing area.
Today, as with most every industry, consolidation presents many new obstacles compared to how business was once conducted. Within mining and aggregate production industries, the consolidation of companies has thrown a few new twists at tire dealers.
As I mentioned earlier, customers these days are not doing business with you because of your location relative to their location. Customer contraction has, in many cases, placed tire buying and service relationship decisions in the hands of people thousands of miles from your dealership. That, in itself, is a basic issue you must overcome if you want to have a fruitful business relationship with a local mine or quarry.
In fact, these days your potential ability to be global to find ways to solve tire and service problems for your customers’ far-flung locations ®“ is the new location opportunity to consider.
It’s a given that dealing with companies such as Phelps Dodge requires their tire dealers not only have a comprehensive knowledge of the products and services needed, but that they act in a consultative manner with a complete understanding of their clients’ business.
Since the OTR tire market demands pinpoint accountability to maximize profitability, I’d have to agree with Dave Cionek, vice president of sales in North American for Michelin’s Earthmover Group, that improvement is key to dealer success. In my estimation, improvement of the product is as much your responsibility as it is the manufacturer’s. After all, you are in the best position to interpret tire performance and translate potential solutions to your manufacturer. At the same time, sales, service and support must be aggressively marketed by both you and your manufacturer partner on a daily basis.
Last fall, Tire Review and Tire Association of North America (TANA) embarked upon an aggressive research project to profile the business of OTR tire dealers. The resulting study gave us some tremendous feedback on the realities of the market. To the best of my knowledge, it was the first study of its kind.
Bob Roberts, our marketing research manager, and I presented the findings of our efforts back in February at TANA’s OTR conference in Tucson. From my perspective, it was interesting to see the facts and figures of the research we had spent so much time working on jump off the pages and literally come to life when I met many of the dealers attending the conference. If you’d like more information regarding the research we conducted, please contact me and we can make arrangements to make a copy available to you.
Getting back to the issue of location, if you missed this year’s conference you’re in luck. TANA’s 2001 OTR Tire Conference will be held in Florida at Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Feb. 15-17. I would urge you to attend what should be an even more exciting and enlightening event.
I’ve done a little snooping, and the 2001 agenda looks like it will include: the introduction of a new TANA OTR tire service training program, a number of technical presentations, updates on tire chip technology, a program on flat-proofing tires, a live OTR tire repair demonstration, and a new Tire Review/TANA OTR benchmark study.®′