Excellent Turnout for 80th NTDA Annual Dinner and 2009 TAFF Awards
Around 400 guests filled the Deansgate Suite at the landmark Manchester Hilton Hotel to celebrate the 80th NTDA annual dinner and the 2009 Tyre and Fast Fit (TAFF) awards ceremony. The event, held on the evening of 23 September, saw the industry’s brightest and best gather to celebrate the successes of an industry that is determined to tough out the recession. The turnout alone spoke volumes about the attitude of the business’ leaders, with NTDA chairman Peter Gaster’s speech highlighting the challenges and successes of the industry; and the TAFF awards themselves recognising the achievements of companies within the business. This year’s event was sponsored by ECI International (the organisers of Brityrex, Tyrexpo Asia, Tyrexpo Africa and now Tyrexpo India); well known logistics firm DHL and Tyres & Accessories (and website tyrepress.com), the industry’s leading tyre trade publications. The TAFF awards themselves were compered by Mark Harrison on behalf of ECI International and after dinner entertainment was provided by Ian Irving.
Following the publication of 20,000 voting slips by Tyres & Accessories and the NTDA, and after hours of dedicated vote-counting, the 2009 awards were presented to successful candidates with tyre industry equivalent of “the red carpet treatment.” The fifth NTDA TAFF Awards also differed from previous competitions as it was the first time online voting had been included. In addition to the awards decided by the normal one industry member one vote system, and the NTDA nominated chairman’s award, 2009 saw the introduction of an expert judging panel to decide this year’s innovation award. The panel was made up of the representatives from associations and trade publications including NTDA, TIF, GEA and Tyres & Accessories. And now the results…
Tyre Manufacturer of the Year
Competition for the Tyre Manufacturer of the Year award continues to be fierce, with some of the world’s largest companies fighting it out to prove the have the best products and customer service. The award has arguably grown in stature over the years and last year saw Michelin set a new precedent for winning two awards (Tyre Manufacturer of the Year and Industry Advertiser) at the 2008 competition. Could they repeat such a performance? On this occasion Continental Tyre Group romped home to match last year’s feat.
Accepting the company’s Manufacturer of the Year award, Continental Tyre Group managing director, David Smith told Tyres & Accessories: “We are delighted that our work and efforts have been recognised by the industry. I am particularly proud of my team who work hard to push standards forward and make us the leading brand in the industry.”
Continental won what company representatives described as “the highest accolade…in the tyre industry” after being recognised by voters for their latest generation of truck tyres with fuel saving technology and, says the company, innovative products such as the ContiSeal, the puncture resistant car tyre and the CSEasy, a solid industrial tyre that can be fitted without a mounting press. This is backed by consistently high performance in leading independent tests. Continental and Uniroyal car tyre products currently have a total of 11 Best Buy accolades with Which? magazine.
As well as delivering the high quality products to its customers, Continental also prides itself on working closely with retailers to understand and improve their business. This approach is said to help retailers win new customers, increase profitability and improve customer service and therefore retention. With this approach, Continental adds real value to the customers business which is particularly important in the current climate.
Other nominations shortlisted for this year’s Manufacturer of the Year prize were: Bridgestone UK Ltd., Kumho Tyre (UK) Ltd., Michelin Tyre Plc, Pirelli UK Tyres Ltd.
Wholesaler of the Year
In what can only be described as an unparalleled feat, the 80th annual dinner saw leading Bristol-based national wholesaler British International Tyre Supplies (BITS) extend its Wholesaler of the Year Awards tally to nine. Due to the fact that the TAFF awards have only been run in their current form for the last five years, it has to be pointed out that BITS count rewards received in the prize’s previous incarnation in order to reach the tally of nine. However, it could be argued that this only serves to emphasise the company’s success and staying power over the years. As a result of winning this year’s award, and with competition closer than ever, BITS’ latest achievement is likely to spur its competitors to try and take the fight to them next year. No doubt BITS will aim to fight just as hard to make it 10!
For more than 72 years now BITS, part of the County Tyres Group of companies, has been offering outstanding its brand of service and value to its large customer base. The company has strategically placed wholesale centres throughout the UK and runs a fast daily delivery service from Bristol, Burton, Cambridge, Cardiff, Essex, Grangemouth and its newest location, Southampton. BITS is the exclusive distributor of Roadstone tyres for the complete 4×4 range, which covers a wide range of popular SUV fitments from BMWs through to Volvos.
In order to win BITS had to beat strong competition from: Group Tyre (UK) Ltd, Micheldever Tyre Services Ltd, Stapleton’s (Tyre Services) Ltd, and Viking International who we all also nominated for the award.
Industry Advertising Campaign
Continental’s second award of the evening came in the Industry Advertising Campaign Award (sponsored by Tyres & Accessories/Tyrepress.com), which was received by marketing director Guy Frobisher in recognition of the company’s Great Days Out campaign: “The Great Days Out marketing campaign was our biggest yet. It was a great team effort, from the marketing side with advertising, trade marketing, PR and online all working together to the sales team getting a record number of retailers involved,” Guy Frobisher commented.
Great Days Out was launched in March this year. The campaign linked together over 300 days out selected across the UK and Ireland and the www.conti-offers.co.uk website offered great savings on a fantastic range of activities. The aim was to appeal to both families wanting the fun activities for the kids and individuals discovering new pastimes and, according to Continental, the website received “a huge number of hits,” introducing the brand to new audiences.
The success of the campaign is illustrated by the figures showing that press advertising reached 40 per cent of all adults (19.2 million) and online advertising delivered over 14 million page impressions.
Other nominations included: Goodyear Tyre Ltd (Efficient Grip); Michelin Tyre Plc. (Energy Saver); Pirelli UK Tyres Ltd (Angel); and Yokohama HPT Ltd (Advan).
North Yorkshire-based Vellco Tyre Control won the Environment Award for the third year, having previously won in 2004 and 2007. Over the last few years Vellco has been pro-active in promoting “carbon-neutrality” for a number of its customers which will result this year in two leading national automotive retailers achieving this status within the tyre retailing sector.
Vellco is also very proud to have had its Environmental Accreditation Standard 14001 independently renewed at the beginning of 2009. This, along with full membership of the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) and its Responsible Recycler Scheme, further assures customers of a completely transparent, auditable, and environmental recycling process for all waste collections.
Car, truck, agricultural, industrial and earthmover tyre recycling forms just part of Vellco’s environmental portfolio. In addition, the Vellco Group manages a range of other automotive waste on behalf of many of its customers including oil, oil filters, antifreeze, metal waste, catalytic convertors, confidential paper, and general dry trade waste.
In the last year, Vellco together with their chosen dry waste contractor, has rolled out to all customers utilising “dry waste”, additional containers for the collection of paper and cardboard. This not only means that better segregation of wastes is being carried out at the point of arising, but also reduces the frequency of collection – which reduces vehicle emissions – whilst at the same time increasing the recycling of this waste stream.
John Campbell, business development director for the Vellco Group commented: “I am very proud and pleased to accept this TAFF award from the tyre industry on behalf of the entire team at Vellco. This vindicates our continuing insistence on maintaining professional and quality processes with our customers. It is particularly pleasing to be accepting this award for third time in five years”.
According to internal figures, Vellco currently recycles over 5 million passenger car tyres, over half a million heavy truck tyres, more than 2,500 agricultural and industrial tyres, and over 100 earthmover tyres annually.
Credential Environmental Ltd, DME Tyres, PPP Group and Sapphire Energy Recovery Ltd also received nominations.
Tyre & Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year
In what, for some, was a surprise result Auto4 won the 2009 Tyre & Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year award. The company, which has previously referred to itself as one of the industry’s best kept secrets, will now be looking to capitalise on its new found prominence.
This year Auto4 reports that it has seen technology move forward at a rapid pace with the launch of the Auto4/SICE S300, which it describes as “the latest innovation in tyre changing equipment.” This leverless,laser beam enhanced piece of equipment enables the user to successfully work on the most challenging run-flat or low profile tyre assemblies safe in the knowledge the inbuilt technology will ensure costly errors do not occur. The company also recently launched a new catalogue which, in addition to all the company’s standard lines, now includes a range of janitorial, personal protective and cleaning products. Within the next few months the product range is set to expand again with the launch of a supplementary catalogue covering “fast moving essential workshop products.”
Other nominees included Apaseal Ltd, Beissbarth UK Ltd, PCL Air Technology and Rema Tip Top UK Ltd.
As has already been mentioned, this year’s award was judged by a panel of industry experts for the first time, something which meant the result in this category was a particularly closely guarded secret. And it would probably be fair to say that Paul Beurain, managing director of this year’s winner Pro-Align, was as pleasantly surprised as anyone to receive the new. “It was a real surprise and honour to have won the award against some real tough competition” Paul Beaurain, confirmed
Pro-Align won the innovation award for Hunter’s SmartWeight balance weight and time saving technology. This system simultaneously factors in both the static and dynamic imbalance in balancing calculations, reducing the amount of weight needed to accurately balance tyres.
“The equipment has already proven itself to be a winner with those who use it”, Beaurain commented, adding: “This recognition by the NTDA, just goes to reinforce that with all its benefits and savings Hunter SmartWeight offers, its one wheel balancer that workshops should not overlook.”
NTDA Chairman’s Award
The NTDA chairman’s awards can most accurately be described as the tyre business’ equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. The prize honours those whose careers in the tyre trade and industry have influenced a wide cross section of the business community. Previous recipients have demonstrated this through long-term leadership of influential businesses or by service to key industry organisations. This year’s recipient – Jim Rickard managing director of Michelin Tyre Plc. – can be considered to have achieved both.
In the citation for the chairman’s award, NTDA chairman Peter Gaster gave a brief overview of Rickard’s CV, which includes service in a range of roles across the industry. After graduating from Cambridge University with an engineering degree, Rickard spent time in the commercial vehicle business before moving Michelin. Since joining the French manufacturer, Rickard has had held key responsibilities such as European corporate communications manager; and oversaw the closure of new tyre production at the company’s Stoke-on-Trent plant. Rickard was also directly involved in the foundation and was inaugural chairman of the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF). The news was a dual pleasure for Rickard who celebrated his daughter’s PHD graduation the same day as he received the chairman’s award.
Surprised, but pleased, by his nomination for this award, Jim Rickard told Tyres & Accessories that he was “Particularly proud to have helped form TIF, which represents a real step forward, federating the respective industry associations together in one body.”
A word from our sponsors…
Next year’s annual dinner and TAFF awards will be held alongside Brityrex International 2010, which will again be sponsored by the NTDA. Brityrex organisers ECI International, along with DHL and Tyres & Accessories sponsored this year’s NTDA Dinner and TAFF Awards.
Shortly before the dinner was held, Brityrex International reported an upturn in business confidence among tyre sector suppliers as companies continue to invest in next year’s exhibition in Manchester (5, 6 and 7 October 2010).
ECI International have confirmed a “healthy” amount of new bookings for the show from “a broad cross-section of domestic and international tyre and automotive specialists.” Managing director Paul Farrant explained: “There’s no doubt that the market in general is feeling more positive about future prospects than it was six months ago. Speaking to many businesses of all sizes in the tyre, equipment and accessories sectors, it’s clear there is a willingness to consider investing in exhibitions and promotion. That confidence is refreshing and bodes well for Brityrex as well as day-to-day business activity.” Among the latest companies to commit to the next Brityrex are Daly Tyres, the Irish distributor that has recently opened a new wholesale division in Stoke-on-Trent. This will concentrate on distribution of Taiwanese brand Kenda, with Daly managing director Eamon Daly explaining: “Kenda is a very progressive company and we view them as a great partnership for our business. Brityrex will be the perfect platform to market Kenda and our other product ranges and will be the place for UK and Irish retailers to meet suppliers covering all aspects of the tyre business.”
With Brityrex specialising in garage equipment and machinery as well as its core tyre market, the news that the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) has agreed to exhibit further strengthens the show’s appeal. GEA member and well-known alignment supplier Supertracker will also be at the show. The company is planning to introduce two new aligners at Brityrex, models that will enhance the existing product range, which has sold more than 11,000 wheel aligners in the UK.
A new name for Manchester 2010 will be Norbar Torque Tools, the UK-based world leader in the manufacture of torque wrenches, torque multipliers and calibration equipment and services. They were recently voted the Best UK Family Business for companies between £5-25 million turnover.
Chinese manufacturers and wholesalers continue to recognise the sales potential of the UK market, with Star-Tyre representing no-less than 23 brands. Shandong Wanda Boto will exhibit its ranges of OTR, truck and bus tyres while Zhengxing (wheels) and Ningbo Junda (valves and accessories) are two more newly-confirmed exhibitors.
A selection of exhibitors already committed to Brityrex 2010 includes: Air-Seal Products, Airtec, Apaseal, Autogem, Beissbarth UK, BITS, Clampco UK, Daly Tyres, DQN, Haweka, Hoffman Megaplan, JIA Sources, Kings Road Tyres, Koryo Tyres Industrial, MAM Software, Ningbo Junda, Norbar Torque Tools, Pro-Align, Profil, Shandong Wanda Boto Tyre, Star Tyre Group, Supertracker, Techking Tires, Treadsetters, Uniroyal Truck Tyres, Value Tyres, Zhengxing Wheel.