NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The "new and improved" wand gets waved over everything from soap to soup.
Bridgestone/Firestone Off Road Tire Co.'s off-road-tire tracking software system Tire Management 2000 —or TM2000—is no exception.
Introduced by BFOR in late 1999, it's designed to help dealers and end users, including mines, manage their tire operations. Since then, TM2000 has undergone rigorous field testing by 250 BFOR customers.
Based on their evaluations, the software consequently will be wearing "significant improvements" in an updated version due for rollout by the end of the first quarter, said Jeff Asay, BFOR's marketing manager-technology services.
Those improvements include the incorporation of international units of measure, so a user can seamlessly switch between, say, meters or inches. While a previous version of the software allowed tire tracking by hours or miles of usage, now both measurements can be used.
"We've made the software more robust" than the original version, Mr. Asay told Tire Business. The upcoming Version 3.0 will replace upgrades 1.23 through 1.27, which, he said, offered patches and bug fixes. There also may be a name change in TM2000's future, he added, choosing to keep that a secret until 3.0 is introduced.
The new version also will have an international framework built into it allowing the company to eventually offer it in other languages.
The first will be in Spanish, ready for release sometime in the year's second quarter, Mr. Asay said. That international component, according to BFOR, also enables companies with global operations to track all company operations with one system.
BFOR also said it has made it easier for users to share reports—either via e-mail or other means—directly from the software instead of having to employ the more complicated, clunky interface in the current version.
One of the largest aggregate-handling companies in the world, Vulcan Materials, is among users of the current TM2000. Mr. Asay said the Freeport Mine in Indonesia, one of the world's largest, has signed on to use Version 3.0.
Like its earlier iterations, the new software will feature a short learning curve and ease of use, the company said.
TM2000 enables users to scrutinize tire use and comprehend tire wear costs by organizing tire data which then can be output in more than 50 different kinds of custom reports and graphs, Mr. Asay said.
Using click-and-drag technology to minimize input time, the software is designed so that most tire management functions can be done from one page.
According to the company, system features include the ability to search for tires by serial number or brand, the ability to rotate tires between vehicles, color-coded tires indicating wear status and a report-writing component.
Historical data from earlier versions of the company's tire-tracking system can be downloaded into the new version.
BFOR said it will market TM2000 directly to servicing OTR dealers and end users. The software will remain priced at its current $5,000, but Mr. Assay said BFOR's premium customers will receive an automatic 50-percent discount.
"We found that tire tracking has really gained momentum in the last few years," he said, noting that TM2000 was originally developed for the North American market by Bridgestone/Firestone, but the tire maker's Japanese parent, Bridgestone Corp., wants to make it international.
Waiting in the wings are software rollouts later this year in Latin America and Australia.