Pirelli UK Promotes Truck Tyre Business
The role of introducing Pirelli’s “Truck Tyres in Revolution” slogan fell to UK managing director, Dominic Sandivasci. “When you think of Pirelli, truck tyres is not the first image that comes to mind. That’s about to change,” he explained. Why now? “Because we’re ready,” comes the reply. According to Sandivasci the company known as the “Giorgio Armani of the tyre industry” is now poised to attack the truck replacement market and go for growth. In short the Italian manufacturer is looking for “ways of working that go beyond existing partnerships.” And this basically means rejuvenating its position in the truck tyre market. One way the company is seeking to achieve this is by transferring the success of its Pirelli driver scheme into the truck arena, while another is the launching a new online tyre management system – B2Fleet.
Pirelli’s truck tyre re-launch is based on a four-stage strategy which will see developments in the fields of personnel, systems, retreading and new products, said Pirelli Tyre SpA global marketing director, Annick Monseux. The UK is being pitched as something of a pioneer scheme in this respect. Pirelli chose to introduce the new truck strategy in the UK because of the market’s high level of sophistication explains Monseux. The approach is expected to be rolled out to Pirelli’s other European subsidiaries in due course. Although according to official Pirelli documents, some parts of the strategy have already been implemented in the Belgium, Italian and German markets.
In the UK, the latest development on the personnel front is the appointment of Graham Hutchison as director of the UK Truck Business Unit. Hutchison has held various positions during his 15 years at Pirelli including most recently five years as UK field sales manager. Graham will lead the continued development of the Pirelli truck tyre business in addition to maintaining his current UK field sales responsibilities. Hutchison will report directly to managing director, Dominic Sandivasci.
B2Fleet – online system
Pirelli hopes to attract new truck customers and sustain existing business by becoming the latest manufacturer to offer a complete web-based tyre management system. Branded B2F (Business to Fleet or B2Fleet) the new system is designed to work in conjunction with modern data capture equipment that is capable of transmitting information to its network from almost anywhere. Gone are the days when tyre technicians have to fill out reports on paper, now technicians will able to do all their reporting on handheld PCs that come in strengthened cases. B2Fleet is Pirelli’s response to a rapidly evolving and sophisticated market. B2F is designed to assist this development and aid change, said fleet services manager, Adrian Plews.
B2Fleet is seen as an important way of empowering independent dealers to do their job more effectively through programmes like the new Pirelli Truck Driver scheme. From a business point of view it makes good sense to support independents in this way as the influence of independent truck tyre dealers has grown in significance from 30 to 40 per cent in the last decade.
In addition to the launch of B2Fleet, Pirelli also announced that it recently added retreads to the list of products available online for purchase at its www.tyreclub.pirelli.com website. Pirelli has been running the Internet ordering site since 1998 and last year overhauled the site, giving it greater functionality and making it easier to use.
A new Order Entry application was also released an it is this application that has enabled the addition of Pirelli’s retreaded tyres to be added to the product portfolio. The new system also allows the central purchaser to place orders on behalf of other branches, make up to three different searches simultaneously and make quick orders. The Tyreclub site also now has the facility to view and download Pirelli delivery notes through searching by invoice number, advice note number, order reference or Pirelli order number.
Retreading their steps
Today’s fleets expect to have the life of their tyres maximised through retreading and that’s why Pirelli promoted the abilities of its retreading department in this respect. Pirelli’s Novateck branded retreads will continue to be produced in Burton in the same workshop that the company has been using for this purpose since 1929. Things have changed quite a bit since those days and the company now employs 28 staff who have over 500 years of experience between them. Equipment has changed a lot too and the company now uses the latest shearography technology to audit casing integrity. Pirelli offers three types of retreads: those produced using the pre-cure process, the mould-cure bead-to-bead process, and the Entyre process.
The final, but by no means least important, part of Pirelli’s truck strategy is to increase sales of its Amaranto new-tyre range. John Greaves, Pirelli Tyres UK truck product manager characterised the Amaranto as a “cross-fertilisation” of both MIRS’ fully automated production techniques and traditional tyre production technology. One result of this is the company’s Spiral Advanced Technology for Truck (SATT), which is said to improve comfort and uniformity in Pirelli’s tyres. While the Amaranto series lead by the FH85 and TH85, are not brand new releases, a number of new sizes are expected to be brought to market in the final quarter of 2006 and the early part of 2007.
Pirelli’s “truck tyre…revolution” announcement is set against a background of a general declining truck tyre market. While some analysts explain that this is part of natural market fluctuations and predict sales will pick up soon, others point to the dramatic fall of sales of premium products in the Republic of Ireland last year. One explanation for this is this market’s liking for low-cost imports produced in places like China. At the same time, the UK has witnessed the influence of “mid-range” manufacturers increase significantly. In recent years companies like Hankook have grown rapidly, eating into the market share of better-known brands. According to the latest data T&A has seen Pirelli currently holds a UK truck tyre replacement market share of around 3.5 per cent.