NTDA chief executive encourages distributors to work together to “make it happen”
NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay’s 2022 Tyre Industry Conference address sought to bring tyre distributors together and further mobilise what he referred to as the tyre trade team:
“…Last year, I closed my opening address by saying “We are all in this together, so come on let’s be positive and make it happen!” Well, although not always easy, positive is certainly what we must remain as we continue to face the big challenges thrown at us by climate change, political ineptness, world instability, economic crises and skills shortages, so I stand by my comment from last year that we are all in this together, the tyre trade team so to speak!
“Whether tyre [you are] manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, repairer, retreader, collector, re-processor or the associated aftermarket, you are all an intrinsic part of a supply chain responsible for ensuring professional stewardship of the tyre industry in the UK and coming together under the common banner of the NTDA makes us stronger.
“As the 2022 Tyre Industry Awards entries show, tyre manufacturers are certainly at the forefront of addressing many of the big issues. Whether it be research and development projects looking at more sustainable manufacturing processes, extending the lifespan of commercial tyres through UK-based retreading, carbon offsetting by investing in reforestation projects, partnerships to look at more localised end-of-life tyre reprocessing or supporting their customers with staff training and development; such as delivering the REACT and Tyre Technician Professional Development schemes or by expanding excellent national loyalty and franchise options, the majority of manufacturers must be applauded for their efforts.
The wholesalers are also supporting the team effort by introducing more customer-centric and regionalised distribution models, where improved online and app-based communication and ordering solutions are enhancing efficiency and productivity. Like the manufacturers, many wholesalers are also working to de-carbonise their businesses or are also offsetting with similar tree planting projects.
“Tyre distributors and retailers, our core members, are also doing a phenomenal job in very difficult times. For example, over the last year, I have seen many examples of members promoting the opportunities that exist in the sector and working to portray a more positive image to a much wider audience of potential employees, whilst at the same time promoting tyre safety and cost-saving solutions to customers at every opportunity.
“It is clear, that our members are recognising that diversity and social responsibility are good for business in other ways too, because both attract customers, drive innovation, revenue and business growth.
“We know, from the many licence applications we receive on a weekly basis that at the technician level, our industry is changing, but the NTDA also wants to work with you to ensure the make-up of our trade, at all levels, reflects modern day society and that we explore all options to fill the skills gaps we are suffering with.
“There are also numerous examples of our aftermarket members intervening to gain, train and retain good people. Whether it be the Talent Recharge event and campaign organised by Autotech Group in March, the new Responsible Tyre Repair Technician training scheme spearheaded by Rema Tip Top, which now leads to an NTDA licence, or the TPMS Expert contest organised by Autogem and held at the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event in June, it is clearly apparent that the theme of raising standards and demonstrating the possibilities that exist in our trade is at the forefront on NTDA members minds.
“Our tyre retailers are also looking for transparency and validation when it comes to waste tyres. They want to know what is happening to the tyres when they are collected from their tyre centres and that’s great, because, as an industry we are ideally placed to reuse, repair and recycle.
“In fact, we have entire tyre industry sub-sectors committed to professional tyre repair and retreading and the NTDA is dedicated to promoting those sub-sectors, because it makes absolutely undeniable sense to keep our resources in use in the UK for as long as possible whilst also supporting skilled employment in those sub-sectors.
“When we do have to finally say that a tyre has reached end-of-life status it is, I believe, imperative that we also ensure that those tyres are collected and reprocessed by permitted, TRA RRS members who can fully verify and validate what has happened to the tyres.
“As we look to the future, it must also become a set objective for our trade to try and recover as much of the reusable resources such as steel, carbon black and oil here in the UK and in so doing, support desperately needed reprocessing infrastructure growth closer to home.
“With such infrastructure growth comes employment opportunities and prosperity, particularly in currently socially disadvantaged areas of the UK that have suffered due to the decline in manufacturing for example, but where great engineering expertise can still be found.
“As always, the NTDA is committed to supporting the UK tyre trade to become a well-resourced, resource-efficient, respected and profitable industry…The tyre trade is a great trade, it’s innovative, presents so much future potential and employs so many talented people, so let’s keep up the good work and make it even better. Remember, we are all in this together and the NTDA is always here to help and as long as I’m still standing, I’m still positive, so join me and let’s make it happen!”