Continental Delivers Long Tyre Life to Argos
With 130 million customers spending £3.8 billion a year buying items on-line and through its 670 stores, the Argos retail business needs a massive logistics back up. This requires a fleet of 600 tractor units and 1400 trailers operating from 11 distribution centres strategically located throughout mainland UK. That means that at any given time there are well over 5,000 tyres in contact with the road on Argos vehicles.
Engineering manager Geoff Mitchie says the key to avoiding that lies in specifying the right tyres from the outset and then ensuring good husbandry. “We always specify Continental tyres as OE fitment on our trucks and trailers because we know they are a dependable premium-quality tyre that will do a good job for us,” he says. “Continental tyres also feature as part of our replacement policy in regard to steer axle tyres, as regular checks on tyre prices show Continental to be competitively priced. We also have a tyre husbandry programme that involves the drivers, the maintenance fitters, and our tyre service provider, ATS.“
With Christmas just around the corner Argos Distribution – as their logistics operation is known – will be going flat out to keep the stores stocked-up. This makes vehicle availability and dependability particularly critical and tyre failure is something that the company really doesn’t want to happen.
“Drivers are required to carry out a visual inspection of the tyres as part of their daily check where they look for obvious signs of damage or low pressure. When the trucks and trailers go in for their routine service and maintenance inspections the tyres undergo a closer examination, including checking tread depths and pressures,” explained Michie.
“We only ever fit new tyres on steer axles but as part of our overall tyre policy we use re-cut and remoulds on drive axle and trailer axles. The remoulds are supplied by Bandvulc and this fits well with our company’s corporate responsibilities policy and practices, which place a strong emphasis on recycling.”
Mike Nyren, Brand Manager – Trucks at Continental Tyre Group, says that he fully endorses the tyre management system followed by Argos: “This is clearly best practice and mirrors the process we recommend with ContiLifeCycle. This is aimed at optimising the life of a tyre, delivering significant operating cost benefits, and contributing to reducing any negative environmental impacts from transport operations.
“It starts by choosing the right tyre for the application. For high mileage motorway running, for example, we’d recommend our HSL1 and HDL1 ‘Eco Plus’ tyres that can reduce operating costs on an articulated truck by over 4 per cent. Stage 2 is re-grooving, which involves cutting new grooves that follow the original tread pattern. A tyre regrooved with 3mm of tread will actually deliver better mileage performance and fuel efficiency than a new tyre and reduce the cost per kilometre by as much as 10 per cent.
“When a tyre has come to the end of this second phase, only about 20 per cent of its total material has worn away and it still has plenty of potential life. Retreading can then be used to extend life and this also leads to the possibility of regrooving the retread in the same way as with a new tyre.
“Finally, we recommend responsible disposal. Tyres can be recycled and reused in a variety of ways, such as fuel for cement kilns and rubber crumb to create quieter road surfacing.”