TBC “Fills” It Up In Palm Desert
When TBC Corp. held its annual meeting in Palm Desert, Calif, Jan. 5-8, the private brand marketer had three things on its mind: fill rates, customer contact, and marketing solutions. When translated, all that leads to increased customer service and a willingness to do what it takes to keep everyone in the TBC family happy.
“It’s you, our customers, who have made TBC and yourselves leaders in this industry,” said Barry Robins, TBC’s vice president of sales and marketing, before a crowd of 300 dealers and suppliers. ®It is you who have made the Multi-Mile, Cordovan and Sigma brands leaders in a highly competitive industry.
“As we move forward together, TBC is dedicated to do everything possible to provide you with the necessary products and programs to expand our business even further.”
One of the first things that TBC will dedicate itself to is increasing fill rates, something that plagued the company toward the end of last year. TBC ended the year with a 90 percent fill rate, which was decent, but short of its projected 95 percent goal.
“I’d love to take a (passing grade) here, because we’ve provided superior fill rates in a year of tighter and tighter supply,” said Larry Day, TBC’s president and CEO. ®But some of you, alas, may remember me speaking to this same group last year and promising fill rates in the mid-90s. Well, by April of last year, we had achieved our goal (with a record high 94 percent).
“But then, starting in May and June, we were never quite that good again.” TBC’s fill rate bottomed out at 84 percent in the last quarter of 1999.
In 2000, TBC has again targeted a 95 percent fill rate. And it’s something they have recommitted themselves to meeting.
“Our service fell to levels unacceptable to us and TBC,” said Thomas Dattilo, president and COO of the Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, a major supplier of TBC. ®Expect that there should be real and continuing improvement.®
With that in mind, TBC’s plan to improve customer service is easy: Make 2000 the “Year of the Customer.” Everyone involved in the TBC operation pledged to improve service and do what it takes to make the selling of TBC brands easier.
“It seemed we might have lost some of the customer focus that truly defined much of our success in our first 100 years as a company,” said Bill Sharp, president of Goodyear North America, TBC’s other major supplier. ®And we are working very hard to reverse that loss.®
When it comes to marketing itself and its brands, TBC freely admitted that it lacks the resources to delve into an enormous consumer communications program.
“We take that investment, which is hefty, and put it back into your pocket in the form of higher gross margins on TBC tires,” said Jim Pascover, director of communications for TBC. ®All we ask — all I ask ®” in return, is simply for you to take on the responsibility of marketing Cordovan, Sigma and Multi-Mile to retail consumers in your showroom, or your customer’s showroom.®