irtec Tyre gains momentum
Tructyre take-up follows Bridgestone adoption of standard
In January, Bridgestone became the first organisation to trial the new tyre accreditation scheme, irtec Tyre, by testing technicians on their practical and theoretical skills. Now Tructyre and leading coach firms have announced that they have adopted the standard too.
Tructyre, the well-known Tyre fleet management specialist, has become the latest organisation to trial irtec Tyre, with four technicians at the Ashford depot accredited in recent months, and John Brand, group operations manager, believes the scheme will thrive due to the impartiality of its assessments.
He said: “The key distinction with irtec Tyre is the objectivity, as the assessments are done independently. There could be a tendency to mark favourably when doing in-house assessments, as it can reflect the quality of training. With irtec Tyre, the technicians are graded impartially and given proper evaluation of their abilities. If they do not pass, they will be told exactly where they need to improve.”
Daniel Moir, SOE Head of Operations, believes it is time to give tyre technicians the recognition they deserve and continue to move the industry forwards: “It can be a difficult environment to work in, given how much of the job is done at the side of the road, often in adverse weather conditions. Drivers want reassurance that the tyres on their vehicles are being maintained by a trained professional, and irtec tyre aims to do just that. Faulty tyres can go unnoticed, but the consequence of a faulty tyre does not.”
With 26 service centres in the UK, more than 500 customers and over 12,000 vehicles and trailers kept in operation, Tructyre is experienced in rigorous tyre maintenance, and expect irtec Tyre to help persuade fleet operators the need to have nonpartisan assessment of technicians working on their vehicles.
John Brand added: “In time, I believe it will help the industry with professional standards and employee retention. The standard needs to be robust enough, so if the technicians need improving in a certain area, I want to know about it, so I can help them improve. The people who are the end users of the vehicles we are working on, understand that. They are already doing it in other areas of the business. They know what it involves when the name irtec is mentioned; that there is trust and assurance.
“That independent assessment is key to having that level of confidence in the standard, and we firmly believe in it. We want to get all our technicians certified and start to drive it out there. As more and more tyre companies take it on, it will reach a critical mass and it will mean, at some point, that everyone must have it. When you work it out over the course of the licence, it’s very cheap”.
Coach and bus firms adopting irtec Tyre too
Clarkes of London, the renowned coach operator purchased last year by National Express, is also making strides to implement irtec Tyre; another move in the right direction, according to workshop manager, Mark Coker.
Coker said: “There is still a big void in tyre maintenance. In most other areas of vehicle repair, there are independent accreditation schemes which have raised standards, such as irtec. Let’s not forget that tyres are potentially a very dangerous part of any vehicle, and if they are not maintained by a capable individual, there could be catastrophic consequences. I would want as many of our technicians as possible to have the irtec Tyre standard, and we want to make that happen very soon”.
Mick Keohane of private hire coach company Kingsferry Group, also purchased by National Express and currently managing Clarkes of London, is convinced that there should be alignment in tyre maintenance, for customers to be free of safety concerns.
He said: “We took notice of irtec Tyre because it is independent and it means you are not marking your own homework. We want to create a level playing field, which will give customers complete confidence in the work being done. Soon, we will be pushing for our contractors to get their technicians accredited.”
Daniel Anderson, a Tructyre technician taking the assessment, said: “It is good to know that I have the technical knowledge to do a good job. I hope this will mean that in the long term everyone is working at the same level because, currently, that is not the case. There is nothing to stop someone who is not fully trained working at the side of the road.”