Goodyear Dunlop Seizes Advantage of ‘One Stop Shop’ Approach
One outcome of the recession has been increased awareness of the need to maximise tyre value through related services. Several manufacturers of budget-segment brands have shared with Tyres & Accessories their view that simply producing affordable tyres holds little future; service, they realise, will increasingly be a dividing point between brands that do well and those that don’t. Established tyre majors, such as Goodyear Dunlop, enjoy a significant head start in this area, and this is helping them gain a better foothold in a market increasingly focused on whole-life savings.
At the recent IAA commercial vehicle show in Hannover, Germany, Goodyear Dunlop presented its most recent solutions for fleet customers. Speaking on behalf of his counterparts in other European markets, Goodyear Dunlop Germany’s sales and marketing manager Rupert Kohaupt stated: “Our industry leading fleet business model is delivering value to our customers that extends well beyond tyres. And I’m hearing this message repeatedly from fleet operators. This business model is operating in the Americas, in Europe and will soon be deployed in Asia. Now, when paired with our innovative new products such as the new G399 fuel mileage, our commercial business is favourably positioned as the trucking industry continues to rebound.”
Fleet First ready for industry rebound
Signs of this rebound can be seen in recent statistics; according to the Department for Transport, for example, in the second quarter of this year the number of goods vehicles travelling from Great Britain to Europe increased seven per cent year-on-year, to 631,000 units (455,000 powered vehicles and 176,000 unaccompanied trailers – this second figure representing an increase of 19 per cent). Of the powered vehicles crossing the Channel, some 98,000 or 22 per cent were UK registered, a year-on-year rise of 20 per cent.
Catering for this upswing following a 2009 in which UK registered vehicles travelled 13 per cent fewer tonne kilometres (132 billion during the year), Goodyear Dunlop offers fleet users a business model centred on four key components offered together under the ‘Fleet First’ banner. These are the national and Europe-wide TruckForce service network, the FleetOnLineSolutions tyre software management solution, the company’s Max Technology tyres plus Treadmax retreads.
Launched in 1991, the TruckForce network now contains some 2,000 outlets in 32 countries throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Following the separation of the HiQ retail operation into passenger car and truck specific units in 2007 and 2008, the UK part of the business now contains around 250 outlets, of which about 90 are equity owned stores and the remainder independent service providers. The UK network operates according to a ‘hub and spoke’ arrangement, with 15 ‘hub’ locations throughout the country providing the network’s backbone.
“The TruckForce network and our independent dealer partners are able to serve the varied needs of fleets. Our strength is in tailoring a package of product and service support to meet the needs of UK and pan-European fleets,” comments Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK and Ireland corporate communications manager James Bailey. “Our integration of Goodyear, Dunlop and the Eastern European Sava and Debica tyre companies has provided our group with a major advantage in offering a truly pan-European truck fleet service that stretches from Portugal to Russia.” Further honing the network’s ability to deliver, Bailey adds, is a rigorous standards programme: “Our TruckForce hubs and partners operate a rigourous standards programme, and the ‘Gold Hub’ accolade is only awarded after passing a stringent audit. This helps raise service and efficiency standards across the network.”
A fleet’s tyre management costs need to be controlled and transparent. This is where Goodyear Dunlop’s FleetOnLineSolutions steps in. The latest wireless version of the management tool is now used on over 150,000 ‘wheel positions’ on trucks across the United Kingdom. “FOSMobile gives an accurate pressure and depth reading, removes the potential of error in transferring data from paper to PC manually, and also removes the chances of data loss,” Bailey explains. “The completely wireless functionality of the system is combined with Bluetooth communications to allow seamless integration with Goodyear Dunlop’s data warehouse system. The process is internet based, can deliver fleet information in “real time”, and creates a collaborative environment where Goodyear Dunlop and customers can view tyre data on-line.”
“One stop shop”
Another part of Goodyear Dunlop’s Fleet First service package is, of course, the tyres themselves. As James Bailey comments, this enables Goodyear Dunlop to offer a ‘one stop shop’ approach to fleet management, affording the company a sizable advantage over non-manufacturer suppliers of fleet services: “Very few tyre companies offer a full service of premium, high technology new tyres and replicate this in their retread range. We do. Very few service providers offer a network that covers so much of Europe, with consistent standards and centralised a customer service centre. We do. If you overlap these two claims, we are in a very small group of companies that can offer a true ‘single source’ partnership arrangement for customers. If you include the selling points of Max Technology tyres and FOSMobile, it puts Goodyear Dunlop in a unique position when it comes to an integrated product and service offering.”
The tyre range Goodyear Dunlop offers, notes Bailey, is one of three areas (the others being the above-mentioned network and tyre management software) where the company can maximise fleet efficiency through its service portfolio. “The latest Marathon family of tyres can save a 100 strong fleet over £200,000 in fuel costs, based on our experiences with other fleets,” he says. “The high demand for used casings also means that the residual value of the tyres is very high, providing cost effective premium retreads from our Next Tread plant in Wolverhampton.”
The Marathon range includes the LHT II trailer tyre introduced late last year and offering a claimed 30 per cent better rolling resistance than its main competitor, the LHS II steer tyre and LHD II drive tyre. An additional Goodyear tyre in the pipeline is a ten-tonne axle trailer tyre, a prototype of which was displayed at the recent IAA show. As Henry Johnson explained at its exhibition debut, the tyre “will allow additional weight. Instead of the traditional nine tonnes on a trailer this tyre will allow, with two axles, a ten-tonne axle tyre.” The as-yet unnamed tyre is scheduled to enter production early in 2011.
New tyres such as this are designed with the full life cycle in mind, and James Bailey thus notes that Next Tread Technology starts with new tyre development through cooperation with OE customers and truck operators, and therefore products such as the latest additions to the TreadMax range are not designed in isolation. This also applies to MultiTread, a regrooveable Dunlop-branded mould cure retread range introduced at the IAA in September. The line-up initially focuses on remanufactured latest generation Dunlop casings built to the same specifications as the new Dunlop SP 444 truck drive axle tyre and SP 372 bus and municipal vehicle tyre. Later the MultiTread range will receive trailer and mixed-service applications designs. Seven sizes for this introductory line-up will be available by the end of 2010, and MultiTread retreading will be carried out in Wolverhampton and at Goodyear Dunlop’s facility in Riom, France.