More than £4000 was raised for the NTDA’s chosen charity, the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights. The donation was received by David Viner - Master of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and was presented by Mark Insley, CEO of Rema Tip Top
The 2016 Tyre Industry Awards held in October was sell-out event once again. And this was despite having moved to a new venue (Birmingham’s Vox Centre) and it being just the second year of the resurrected conference. To top it all more than £4000 was raised for the NTDA’s chosen charity, the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights, which is backing the training, development and travel support of Paralympic athletes preparing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Awards as competitive as ever
Those that stayed from the day conference were joined by hundreds more guests for the sell-out NTDA annual dinner and awards evening. Despite moving to the new, larger venue, the place was still full with over 600 in attendance. Presented by television personality Suzi Perry, the winners were decided by a panel of leading industry judges, and the results live-tweeted across the increasingly popular Tyrepress twitter feed.
For the second year in a row, Kirkby Tyres won Truck and Agricultural Tyre Supplier of the Year. The 2016 award was sponsored by Infinity Tyres. Al-Dobowi executive director Mitchell Peeters (representing Infinity Tyres) presented the award to Kirkby Tyres chairman Gordon Rosenthal.
Rema Tip Top Automotive UK won Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year, which was sponsored by Automechanika Birmingham. It is the third year running that Rema Tip Top has taken the award. Chief executive Mark Insley and managing director Cliff Jones accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Industry Marketing Campaign of the Year, sponsored by TyrExpo UK 2017, was won by Micheldever Tyre Services for its “Protyre Tyre Reminder” programme. Protyre, the retail arm of Micheldever was recognised for delivering “the best marketing campaign of the year within the tyre industry”.
The citation described the winning entry as being the industry-leading tyre reminder programme and the judges were particularly impressed by the campaign’s customer focus and in addition to its “unique use of data”. The programme also pitched its CSR qualities strongly by promoting customer safety and selling the right product, at the right time, to the right customer.
This year’ Staff Training and Development Initiative of the Year, sponsored by The Parts Alliance was won by Bridgestone UK in what turned out to be something of good night for the manufacturer, which also won Tyre Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by Maritime Cargo Services.
Not only did Bridgestone win two titles this year, it was the second year in a row that the company won Tyre Manufacturer of the Year. In order to win, Bridgestone was selected ahead of fellow nominees Goodyear Dunlop, Hankook, Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama.
Bridgestone commented that the NTDA trophies represent a “significant breakthrough for the business” and pay tribute to the “giant strides made by its senior management team over the past 12 months.” The company is also keen to highlight its many achievements since its first awards triumph a year ago, including its Investors in People silver award, the launch of the DriveGuard tyre and the introduction of its Retorque commercial app.
Bridgestone’s managing director, Robin Shaw, said the awards are testament to the company’s ‘one team’ approach, where all elements of the business work together to showcase a wide range of best practice achievements. “We are so proud to win the NTDA’s Tyre Manufacturer of the Year award for 2016, after also triumphing 12 months ago in the same category,” states Shaw. “It is such a difficult award to win. We thought it was something special in 2015, so to have won it for a second time is incredible.
“It validates the tremendous amount of hard work that everyone at the company carries out on a daily basis in an attempt to meet our ‘Serving Society with Superior Quality’ mission statement,” Shaw continues. “We were keen to highlight the many successes we’ve recorded since winning in 2015, while communicating how the many different parts of our business works together to product some memorable results.”
In addition to gaining a second manufacturing award, Bridgestone was recognised for its training programme. Bridgestone’s training scheme, headed up by training and development managers Phil Thirsk and Paul Turner, covers a broad range of relevant, practical courses for its network of dealers; the company also tailors its package of support to suit individual dealers, as and when required. In total, around 700 industry professionals benefit from Bridgestone’s health and safety courses per year. This amounts to around 8,000 people since training began.
“Our customers don’t need to lose their technicians for a day. We like to assess technicians within their working environment rather than having to take time out of their place of work,” shares Thirsk. “We don’t know of any competitors who will go on site to provide assessments in a place of work. We believe that this makes us unique.”
Commenting on Bridgestone’s receipt of the Staff Training & Development award, NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay said: “This is another fantastic result for Bridgestone who, once again, have set the bar very high. Seeing Bridgestone’s training team win – featuring Phil Thirsk, who is also the chairman of the REACT Steering Group and with whom I have worked very closely over the last three years – was terrific. And then a second year as manufacturer of the year is a tremendous effort. Bridgestone has truly wowed the judges.”
“To be able to refer to ourselves as the NTDA’s Tyre Manufacturer of the Year once again is a tremendous achievement and something that we should all be proud of. To also receive such validation for our provision of training is also extremely satisfying,” adds Robin Shaw. “Now we must continue to look ahead – with renewed confidence – and grow as a business.”
The 2016 Tyre Wholesaler of the Year, sponsored by Goodyear Dunlop was awarded to Stapleton’s (Tyre Services). In a remarkable feat exceeded only by County Tyres at its prime prior to its incorporation into the Malvern Tyres-owned wholesale group, Stapleton’s won the award for a fifth time. However with at least two of the largest wholesalers not on shortlist, those missing will no-doubt be questioning why. And as a result it is a fair bet that it will be even more competitive in the future.
In an incredibly close competition category Tyre Retail Centre of the Year, sponsored by Pirelli was won by Universal Tyres, Chelmsford.
Shortly after the news, Universal Tyres’ Chelmsford site’s victory in the Tyre Retail Centre of the Year category at the Tyre Industry Awards was lauded by Michelin. The site became one of Universal Tyres’ eight Michelin Certified Centres earlier in the year, after passing the Michelin Auto Professional advocate programme’s audit requirements. It impressed the award judges with its modern design, well-stocked tyre storage and skilled, polite fitting team.
Simon Wright, sales and marketing director at Universal Tyres, said: “Our Chelmsford branch is the ‘new kid on the block’ in the retail tyre market, but one truly deserving of recognition for the impact the team is making.
“We invested heavily in building the new site during 2015, converting an old commercial tyre shop, which has long been a regular supplier to truck fleets, into a state-of-the-art retail branch with one goal – to provide excellent service to motorists living in or visiting Chelmsford.”
Mark Meagher, retail programme development manager at Michelin, says: “Michelin is delighted to see Universal’s Chelmsford site clinch the title of NTDA Tyre Retail Centre of the Year. Such an accolade only underscores Universal’s commitment to top-notch customer service – and the NTDA trophy will be the perfect partner to sit next to Chelmsford’s hard-won Michelin Certified Centre signage.”
Dartford-headquartered Universal Tyres employs 178 members of staff across its 16-site network, with dealerships in Bethnal Green, Chelmsford, Colchester, Croydon, Dartford, Dunstable, Greenwich, Ipswich, Plaistow, Staines, Thurrock (two locations), Tilbury, Tottenham, Waterloo and Willesden.
The React Roadside Technician of the Year, sponsored by Zenises, was Lee Hayman, ATS Euromaster who demonstrated repeatedly that he is quiet literally willing and able to go the extra mile in pursuit of customer service.
In addition to the annual awards categories, there were a number of special awards and marks of recognition. Leading the way, the NTDA presented Kwik-Fit founder Sir Tom Farmer with the National Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Tyre Industry (more on that later), sponsored by Hankook UK, while Brian Funnell and Lennie Wells were also made NTDA Honorary Life Members.
In addition the Retread Manufacturer’s Association presented the RMA Award for this year’s City & Guilds highest achiever to Jason Humphries.