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Rolling with the Numbers

Tire Dealers Tell Us How They’re Dealing with the Supply Chain Strain

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On this week’s episode of Rolling With The Numbers, we’re taking a closer look at how you, our tire dealer audience, are handling supply chain issues.

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A necessity for any industry dealing with manufacturing and transporting, the supply chain can be tamed with the right tools. The automotive aftermarket is itself a provider of many of these tools, used to improve and maintain transportation vessels around the world to more effectively provide you with everything from the supplies you need to run your business, to boxes of Chex Mix, to electric throw pillows.

But I don’t have to tell you that the pandemic threw the whole, complicated, supply chain dance out of whack. And as a tire dealer, you are likely still feeling the effects of ships stuck in harbors, an insufficient supply of computer chips, and an international truck driver shortage. In fact, unless you know a coffee-drinking, diaper-wearing, chicken-farming lumberjack, you, as a tire dealer, probably have it as bad as anyone right now.

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I can say that because we sent out a survey to our audience in June, and of those who responded, 82% reported struggling with some level of shortage. Of that, 15% say they are having a lot of problems finding what they need, and 21% say they can mostly keep their inventory stocked, just with a few holes that can’t be filled here and there. Only 13% say they have gotten off scot-free.

Looking for more data to help drive your tires/service business decisions? Click here to watch the full Rolling with the Numbers series.

So with 82% of tire dealers experiencing the supply chain strain, what are they doing about it? Our top answers were, no surprise, stocking up on inventory – at 43% – and adding new distributors, at 41%. 38% said they are putting in their orders earlier, and one tire dealer told us they are so hard up that they are buying tires from car dealerships.

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Interestingly, 14% of respondents chose the “I did nothing” option. And while that might seem strange at first, it does make sense when you think about how tire dealers might lean into different services or supplies they can get ahold of instead of chasing what they’re having trouble with.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of supply chain issues my first thought flies back to last year and that poor boat stuck in the Suez Canal – and that leads me to boats in general, really. You’re constantly seeing those maps of a thousand boats full of goods hanging out in harbors like they’re parking days in advance for a good spot to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. But trucking and freight transportation are just as bad, if not worse, here at home, and you can see that here, based on our survey: 10% of our audience say they are seeing tire supply issues from domestic products, as opposed to only 4% seeing issues with imports. Of course, when you look at the whopping 86% who say they have supply issues no matter whether it’s domestic or imports, it might as well be a wash.

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Finally, we also asked whether tire dealers are having issues with parts and supplies. No surprises here, the results are practically twinning. Tires, of course, aren’t the only supplies that are down right now.

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