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Manufacturer’s POV: Today’s Tire Supply Chain ‘Growing Pains’

To help us make sense of the supply chain challenges today, Sumitomo Rubber North America’s Ron Papcun, senior vice president of operations, explains reasons for supply chain delays, how we got to this point and what we can expect in terms of a “new normal.”


It’s no secret that the tire supply chain has been jolted by the coronavirus pandemic. Things are sort of a hot mess, and there are so many factors playing a role – the price and availability of raw materials, shipping and freight, changes in manufacturing, fluctuating supply and demand…the list goes on. Dealers are most likely seeing these supply chain challenges in the form of low fill rates and higher prices across the board.


But how did we get here? And when will the supply chain get back to “normal?” To help us make sense of it all, we asked Sumitomo Rubber North America (SRNA) for help. In this episode, we speak with Ron Papcun, senior vice president of operations for SRNA, who is a supply chain veteran. We delve into:

  • Reasons for delays in shipping of imported goods, including tires, from Asia [1:07 video, 2:01 audio]
  • Conditions that are creating domestic shipping and freight challenges and how it’s impacted the tire industry [3:30 video, 4:45 audio]
  • Why today’s supply chain issues are “growing pains” to make way for the supply chain of the future [5:49 video, 7:05 audio]
  • How the growth of the U.S. supply chain is impacting the tire industry as well as other sectors in creating record sales growth [7:15 video, 8:00 audio] 
  • The effect of tariffs and high demand on the tire supply chain for SRNA [8:40 video, 10:05 audio] 
  • How COVID-19 created a gap in the tire supply chain and altered supply and demand trends [9:55 video, 10:57 audio] 
  • The reasons for rising tire costs in the last year [13:05 video, 13:45 audio] 
  • Actions SRNA has taken for the Falken Tire brand to address supply chain challenges [14:18 video, 14:34 audio]
  • Advice for dealers on ordering tires so that they can get the product when they need it [16:46 video, 17:39 audio] 
  • When and how the tire supply chain will work itself out and return to a “new normal” [19:38 video, 20:54 audio] 

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