Bridgestone Awards First Expert Level Dealers
At the end of April Bridgestone UK announced details of its Expert Level Truck Point Dealer Audit Programme, naming the first three recipients. The accreditation scheme is the latest stage in the multi-million-pound total tyre management investment programme Bridgestone has been engaged in for the last three years. A further 46 external “Expert Level” audits were scheduled to have been completed at the end of April. Bridgestone plan to hold an official awards ceremony for the remaining Expert Level dealers at the annual Truck Point conference in October.
Talking to Tyres & Accessories, Bridgestone representatives described how working with Lloyd’s register made their scheme “a first.” As external auditors, LRQA (Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance), a leading management systems assessment body, carry out the necessary checks independently, adding greater value to the validation of the Expert Level dealers.
The objective of the programme is to recognise the high service standards of Expert Level Truck Point dealers, and to further improve the service standards of the entire network. The Expert Level Truck Point Audit Programme audits customer service provision, casing management, health & safety policy, equipment checks, administration, invoicing and training within Truck Point dealers.
Paul Sheehan, Truck Point Manager said: “The audit is designed to improve the service levels offered by our network, and bring benefits to dealer, end user fleets and manufacturers in that it raises the profile and professionalism of the independent tyre dealer within the network. This results in an improved level of service and administration to fleets, which protects and develops the Bridgestone brand. Put simply, we know how good Truck Point dealers are; now we have a tool to show it”.
Developed in partnership with LRQA and Truck Point dealer partners, the programme is being implemented during the first half of this year. The first phase of the expert audit process has been completed on 50 of the largest Truck Point dealers, with another 50 identified for the second wave of audits.
Hirotaka Migita, Director of Bridgestone Truck and Bus Europe, presented the first three Expert Level Dealers – Glyn Cainey of Dexel Tyres, Andy Christmas of Lodge Tyres and Alex Watson of Kingsway Tyres – with their awards. Mr Cainey said: “As a Truck Point dealer, Dexel Tyres already offered a high quality service but being involved in the expert dealer programme has given us the opportunity to examine our performance, and make it better.”
The programme is part of Bridgestone’s comprehensive Total Fleet Management package. This offers fleets a full supply and support service for their tyres, covering premium product supply, expert service levels, casing management, fleet checks, full reporting, environmental and health and safety policies as well as on-line invoice checking.
UK truck segment market leader?
At the same time as giving details of the auditing scheme, Bridgestone also promoted its now-completed, “New Generation of Bridgestone truck tyres.” Giving details of the advances made with the R249 steer, R168 trailer and M749 drive-axle tyres, Marketing Manager for Commercial Products at Bridgestone UK Roger Moulding announced that new 295/60 and 315/60 sizes will be available for the M749 range from around October this year.
With the stocks of the M749 now coming through in free distribution, Bridgestone representatives reported that the manufacturer has been experiencing a period of growth in the UK truck tyre segment. At the end of April ERMC data showed Bridgestone’s overall year-to-date market share was 26.4 per cent, suggesting that the UK wing of the Japanese manufacturer is on track to become segment market leader. (Steer-axle share comes in at 21 per cent, drive at 31 per cent and trailer at 33 per cent).
OE arrangements to supply the M749 as OE on Daimler Chrysler and Scania vehicles, not to mention numerous fleet gain, put the company in a strong position for future market success.
Bridgestone’s UK headquarters were established in 1972. Currently, Bridgestone UK employs 410 people in its various sales, technical and administrative departments, with the majority based at its headquarters in Warwick.