Licence to fit, ProMOTe and winter tyres all figure in 2011 NTDA chairman’s speech
After announcing the winners of this year’s TAFF awards, the NTDA’s David White used his annual chairman’s speech – which has become a bit of a “state of the union”-esque moment for the UK business – to announce the news that the association has decided to make its REACT licence to fit qualification mandatory for members. According to the chairman, this decision was agreed in the association board meeting that preceded the evening dinner. However reporting always sits better in context, so here is an edited version of the complete speech for those that couldn’t make the event in person:
“…I am delighted to announce our on-going sponsorship of Brityrex and look forward to the 2012 show which is being held in a years’ time in Manchester. The show is already receiving fantastic support from the industry with over 50 per cent of the stand space booked and we are particularly pleased to announce tonight that two leading tyre brands, Westlake and Infinity are the first manufacturers to announce that they are taking stands at the show.
“…Last year I said most would agree it had been a difficult year, which was not intended (I hasten to add) as [a] challenge…but as we all know things did not get much better. The economic environment remains fragile, consumers are unwilling to commit expenditure, delaying purchases as long as possible, something we can see reflected in the condition of the tyres we remove every day. Statistics confirm fewer motorists miles travelled and less fuel purchased with our sector analysts reflecting up to double digit decline.
“From today’s news we can see how people are weathering the storm in a different way. Argos…announced a 77 per cent drop in profits yet Sports Direct announced an 11 per cent rise in sales and in our sector Pendragon announced an 18 per cent increase in used car sales. But I have no intention of lingering on these matters for this evening is not a time to be gloomy. There a few issues I feel worthy of mention:
Tyre labelling and winter tyres
“Tyre labelling D-day looms next year, I can see compliance has added further pressure and complexity for tyre manufacturers and whilst there will no doubt be much debate about comparative results, I remain convinced that success of the campaign for us lies in the dialogue opportunity between customer and the retailer.
“Winter tyre talk is all about us, certainly up in Scotland we have experienced the first snow falls in the highlands and a number of days when temperatures have fallen under seven degrees Celsius during the day. It’s a developing market for the UK compared to Europe despite supply probably not meeting deman, [but] I do feel that in a short two years the winter tyre opportunity has firmly established itself in the UK.
“Hopefully you have all heard about the government’s intention to review the MOT scheme with a 4-2-2 testing cycle widely mooted. I thank the relatively few people in this room who have supported the ProMOTe campaign that will launch next week. ProMOTe campaign, supported by the RAC, AA, Euro Car Parts, Halfords, Kwik-Fit and Goodyear and surprisingly Aviva the Insurers (to name but a few) strikes at what we consider are the fundamental planks of the government’s case, namely that: technology in cars means they are safer (Tyres, brakes and other consumables will still wear out); the increase in road traffic incidents resulting in fatalities seems acceptable (a fundamentally flawed assumption conceded even by the people who wrote the report they rely on); the current cost of an MOT is seen as a burden to customers (not carrying out an MOT three years after a cars MOT will actually add to motoring costs).
“The case against changing frequency is strong, but only if the political movers and shakers can understand and be convinced of the details – as much as the entire trade has spoken of the matter it is not enough, and I appeal tonight for you to support the proMOTe campaign.
Licence to fit – REACT
“Next as you are aware the safety of tyre fitters and technicians working by the side of the road has always been a cause for concern in the industry; It is a sad fact that, every year, some fitters are seriously injured or killed while working at the roadside.
“A number of elements in the tyre industry – manufacturers and retailers offering roadside assistance – have come together in a group called REACT (Roadside Emergency Action Concerning Tyres) to launch a scheme to licence all tyre fitters working on truck tyres at the roadside. The new Licence to Fit (LTF) scheme has received the backing of the Highways Agency as a positive step towards improved working safety.
“REACT operates as a group within the National Tyre Distributors Association, similar to the Tyre Wholesalers Group (TWG) and, similarly, will be administered by the NTDA. In a bold move which illustrates the importance that the Association places on the new scheme, the NTDA Council has decided to make the LTF programme mandatory for all its members that carry out roadside maintenance or repairs on trucks.
“Our Council’s decision to make LTF mandatory, which was formally approved at our meeting this afternoon, will show fleet operators and hauliers that our members are committed to the highest standards when it comes to roadside safety. Not only will it raise safety standards for the fitters, but the customer will know that work on his vehicle is being carried out by a properly-trained, safety-conscious tyre professional.
“ATS Euromaster has supported this initiative from its outset and it is entirely appropriate that I invite Chris Hufflett, ATS/Euromaster’s group operations director, to the stage to launch the first of what we expect to be thousands of these coveted licences.”
After presenting Hufflet with the symbolic first licence to fit, NTDA chairman, David White, concluded on a optimistic note: “All of us here today and the people in our companies and organisations have much to celebrate. We have weathered the storm and you do wonder what else can be possibly thrown at us. Again I say that for those of us that adapt, embrace change, have the right approach with the right attitude and enthusiasm success will follow.”