AKRON (April 2, 2014) — Trelleborg Wheel Systems Americas Inc. has launched a program to help its U.S. industrial tire dealers with marketing and technical support, IT systems resources, commercial advice and e-commerce sales opportunities.
The new program, called “Interfit,” is free for dealers to join and is supported by its own website. Trelleborg said it has more than 1,000 dealers and distributors of its solid industrial tires in the U.S.
“If you are a dealer that fits solid tires and wants to grow your business, then Interfit is for you,” said Jason Canning, Trelleborg program manager. “It combines the best products in the market with the best servicing dealers. There is no doubt that Interfit will become the largest national manufacturer-backed network in America.”
The decision to develop Interfit reflects the myriad online opportunities for tire dealers to grow their businesses as well as leverage the benefits of participating in national accounts programs, Trelleborg said.
“The idea for us is very simple,” said James Pick, communications director, business unit, industrial tires. “It’s to generate as much business as we possibly can for our dealers by stimulating the brand into the end market, into the end user market, so it becomes as well known as anything else in the world.”
“Service has increasingly become part of our offering over recent years,” Mr. Pick told Tire Business, “and we determined we wanted to introduce the same Trelleborg service that we been operating in other parts of the world into the U.S.”
The Interfit program was introduced in Europe about five years ago. Trelleborg began recruiting U.S. dealers in March after running a pilot program for a few months with selected dealers in the U.S. The tire maker plans to offer the program to Canada at a later date.
“Obviously with such a large (U.S.) dealer base — and those dealers are the market leaders in their respective areas — that we wanted to put together a program that would combine the world’s best tire products with the world’s best dealers in a mutually beneficial program that will accelerate our dealers’ performance and will help them move their businesses to the next level,” he said.
“The whole purpose of the program is to allow (dealers) to develop their businesses without the kind of investment that they would potentially need to do it by themselves,” Mr. Pick said.
“In some of the specialized equipment, we are working with our dealers that already have the physical hardware, the tire-pressing equipment, and what we’re offering is a range of things to help them do that. We’re giving them a very good IT platform, service IT platform, that will allow them to manage their service business—that’s all free,” he added.
“On top of which they’ll get a ton of marketing support and commercial support and technical advice, and all these things are a proper support package to help them really drive their businesses.
“We know these are all independent businesses and they are all going to want to benefit from being part of this national service concept, this national service program. Their independence is very important to them, they’ve built up those businesses themselves, so we want to help them progress and not take them over.”
Dealerships of any size can join the Interfit program where they can use signage and badging to identify themselves as an Interfit service dealer. The program also offers marketing support — including social media, banner advertising and print ads — to promote the Interfit brand as a leading replacement tire service business, Mr. Pick said. The Interfit service center, accessed through a toll-free number, provides a single source of advice and support for dealers and information for customer.
The network also offers a rewards program for performance and positive feedback from service calls.
Trelleborg said it is offering its dealers an established national accounts program with large manufacturers and logistics companies as well as providing its customers with a network of dealerships that can go to a customer’s site and replace industrial tires.
“So the service is very simple. It’s about bringing the replacement tire into a busy factory or busy warehouse or busy distribution center or work yard or whatever it may be, and reducing the down time of that machine to an absolute minimum by making it very easy for customers and for our dealers to know where they got to be, have the right tire and simply turn up and replace it,” Mr. Pick said.
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