Brian Smith talks about Continental
Some 18 months after Continental divested itself of NTA Retail, NTA Commercial and Viking International, T&A approached Brian Smith to find out how Continental Tyre Group was managing in its current format. After all, the complete closure/sale of a manufacturer’s equity is not an every day occurrence and must have had negative effects on Continental’s business in the UK.
Brian Smith knew that the performance of Continental Tyre Group without its UK retail and wholesale operations was going to be at the heart of the matter and he went straight to the point. “Continental Tyre group has shown its ability to handle change both quickly and professionally. One of our great strengths is the ability to make decisions, act on them and adhere to them even though they may be difficult courses of action to follow. We can spot opportunities and act quickly to take advantage of them. That is one of the core policies at Continental, to take opportunities and to handle changes when things don’t work out as planned.
“There is a table in reception that carries the Continental Mission Statement: “To establish Continental Tyre Group as the most professional supplier of quality tyres and customer services, respected for consistent, stable, business relationships. To be known for understanding the customers’ needs and for being responsive in meeting them.” That is a benchmark for the standards we apply at Continental Tyre Group and we need to ask ourselves, are we really like that?
“If we are to achieve that mission it is the customer services element which is particularly important. Then we need to consider how we think internally and what our aims are within Continental Tyre Group. It is in many ways more important therefore to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by the way we handle our customers to develop consistent business relationships.”