Summit Wheels & Tyres Celebrates 20 Years
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation of Summit Wheels & Tyres. The company was set up by Peter Summers and specialised in tyres and wheels for the industrial sector, notably fork lift trucks and skid steer; both replacement and OE.
Summit swiftly established itself as a major player in this specialised niche and developed a reputation for being able to supply unusual or hard-to-get products and to deliver these quickly and efficiently, using its own fleet of vehicles.
In February 2003, Peter Summers decided to retire and Summit Wheels & Tyres was acquired by new owners. The new director responsible was John Biggs, whose background was in OEM wheels and tyres with FAD Wheels before that company had been bought by GKN and, from the very start, the company embarked on a plan of expansion.
Without neglecting its core business of industrial wheels and tyres, Summit began to explore new markets, and before long was supplying the major construction and agricultural machinery manufacturers with wheels and tyres as original equipment.
In its first year, Summit’s business increased dramatically when GKN decided to step back from the marketing and distribution of FAD wheels and Summit took on the business. “We grew 6 fold within two years” remembers John Biggs.
In addition to the boost in turnover from taking on the FAD business, Summit had been showing steady organic growth by developing further the sales of TVS Eurogrip and Gumasol, brands that were already established and within the Summit agency brand portfolio. Indeed, Summit has been instrumental in developing and widening the TVS range to cover the agricultural and construction equipment sectors. Just to explain, when Summit talks about ‘agricultural’ tyres, the company does not deal in tractor tyres – generally, the stock includes tyres up to 28″ and Summit rarely handles tyres or tyre and wheel assemblies any larger than this.
Having said that, 28″ tyres are quite large and, as Summit prides itself on keeping most of its popular lines in stock, the 40,000 square feet warehouse facility is usually full, especially when you bear in mind that deliveries direct from Mitas – another brand in which Summit specialises – are virtually a daily occurrence. Because Summit holds such extensive stocks, customers’ waiting time is kept to a minimum, with the usual delivery period being 72 hours, although a next-day service is available in urgent cases.
As well as the brands mentioned above, Summit handles the main premium brands, although, in the areas in which Summit specialises, the brand name is secondary to performance. Many of the tyres sold by Summit are destined for the rental market, or the trailed machinery market, where brand preference is not a major factor and this sector of the market wants good quality, hard-wearing tyres.
A problem that can beset vehicles working off the road is that of punctures, which can delay production and ultimately lead to loss of profits – for many of the operators of these vehicles time is, quite literally, money. Summit has the answer to this problem too, as the company is an agent for tyrefill brands Arnco and Carpenters, which when used creates a puncture proofing and enables the machine to carry on working without disruption.
So, although Summit has been in business for two decades, much of its growth has come about within the last three years and the company is a good example of how to identify a market niche and to occupy it successfully. While Summit does not handle the volume available in some other sectors, the very fact that it has decided to specialise has been its route to success. And the success looks set to continue, as Summit is keen on developing its wholesale business and supplying tyre dealers, so further growth is on the cards.
When the new owners acquired Summit there were four employees and today the company employs 19 people and the directors expect turnover to continue to increase in the coming years with the development of the brand portfolio and service. Most people would agree that that the progress Summit has made is not a bad performance in just over three years.