Conti Wins Reifen Innovation Award for Paperless Invoicing System
As well as displaying its impressive range of top-quality products on its large stand in Hall 3 at Reifen 2010, Continental’s customer service was deemed award-worthy by the judges for the Innovation Awards. The German manufacturer received the Award for its new electronic invoicing system that provides improved recording and exchange of invoicing and credit notes between Continental and customers in the tyre field. Paper and postage have both been squeezed out of the process, saving money and preserving the environment. Invoices are transmitted securely to prevent data from being stolen by unauthorized viewers.
Alfredo Mate, head of Continental business development for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, accepted the prize: “We're very pleased that our new e-invoicing system has been a hit with both our customers and the jury, making a convincing argument for eliminating paper and exchanging data electronically. Data security was our overriding concern when we were designing the system, followed by a quick and uncomplicated workflow.”
The jury noted at the ceremony that roughly six billion invoices are sent out each year in Germany, roughly 95 per cent in paper form. The expert panel praised Continental’s decision to build on the paperless data exchange process already being explored by the EDI committee of the WdK (German Industrial Association of the Rubber Industry). This includes not just the pure exchange of ingoing and outgoing invoices, but secure transmission as well, including verification of the electronic signature and audit-friendly long-term archiving. Additional standardisation and norming processes are now being initiated to better satisfy formatting and tax issues. If all manufacturers could be convinced to join in, this could lead to significant cost savings for the participating specialty retailers, the jury concluded.
Conti’s product display focused somewhat on its newest super sports tyre, the ContiSportContact 5 P, which has different tread patterns for the front and rear axles (see Tyres & Accessories, January 2010 for more details). Continental is confident about the expected sales figures for the tyre: the European preference for tyres approved for speeds from 240 km/h (150 mph) increased their market share from 12 to 16 per cent between 2005 and 2009, while countries such as Germany and the UK hit nearly a quarter, their market share being 23 and 24 per cent respectively.
Demands made by vehicle manufacturers also continue to rise in speed rating, and the ContiSportContact 5 P had already been given the green light long before its official debut, with initial approvals being granted by Mercedes-Benz AMG for the C 63, E 63 and SLS, as well as by Audi for the TT RS and Renault for the Mégane III Sport. From this spring, consumers will be able to order the super sports tyre from their tyre dealer in the existing sizes and at the same price as the previous ContiSportContact 3 model.