It's like this: You have your ``people tires'' and your ``work tires.''
That's the way Robert Sherkin, president of Dynamic Tire Corp., sees it. You may want to quibble about semantics with him-after all, people use tires. But what he calls the ``work'' variety of round-and-blacks refers to his company's specialty: off-road, construction, mining, agriculture, skid loader and forestry-all comprising Dynamic's Primex private label line.
Those people-types-the passenger, light and medium truck varieties-will likely be added by Dynamic sometime next year, he promised. All in due time.
With the 3-year-old Primex a brand still in the infant stage, so to speak, the Weston-based company has taken pains to develop it into what Mr. Sherkin said is a ``fairly comprehensive'' line that's continuing to be expanded. As for the passenger and truck tires, he's being very methodical about how to launch that endeavor. ``We must do our homework, prepare and make sure it's done correctly. Those efforts are under way.''
Dynamic, which has been in business almost five years, operates two business segments. It is a wholesale distributor in Canada, carrying lines including Kumho, Yokohama, National, Multi-Mile and Pirelli, and also is a member of Del-Nat Tire Corp. and represents TBC Corp. in a number of areas. In the U.S. it does no wholesaling, he said, but instead primarily sells and services distribution of its Primex tires, which are made offshore and also sold in Canada.
The company has warehouses in Syracuse, N.Y., and in Birmingham, Ala., to support its U.S. sales activities, as well as Canadian distribution centers in Toronto, London and Belleville, Ontario. Plans are under way to open at least two more warehouses this year: one each on the west coasts of Canada and the U.S.
One of the biggest gripes of dealers is the continuing proliferation of sizes and SKUs, but for Dynamic, the proof of its growth-and success-is in those mushrooming numbers. It started out with about eight SKUs and has now ballooned to between 500 and 600. ``Our program is now more comprehensive and is now more interesting to a wider array of tire dealers,'' Mr. Sherkin said.
That explosion has been accompanied by turnover, as well: Primex brand sales last year grew more than 100 percent over the previous year, he said, and represent about 50 percent of Dynamic's overall sales of approximately $65 million (Canadian). ``That's about $4 in U.S. dollars,'' Mr. Sherkin joked.
A 30-year industry veteran, he worked for a number of years with the former United Tire & Rubber Co., owned and operated by his family in Toronto. That company is no longer in business.
Mr. Sherkin started an importing business called Dynastar, a division of United Tire that eventually was sold in 1994 to Itochu International Inc. He founded Dynamic Tire in late 1997.
In an industry that sometimes seems to change by the day, Dynamic has tried to evolve and keep pace, he said. ``I think the continuance of acquisitions and concentration of distribution in fewer and fewer hands has impacted everybody,'' he told Tire Business.
The world continues to shrink through the immediacy of things like the Internet and technological advances. As people become more aware of the globalization of industry in general and the tire business in particular, Mr. Sherkin believes ``you need to be more on top of your game and sharper on what's going on in terms of forecasting and be prepared to deal with it.
``That means not only for today, but a year or two down the road.''
Having traveled the globe for a few decades now, he said he has tried to ``use that experience and knowledge in forecasting so that we're in the right position to have the products available that our customers want.''
And, he added, ``to be competitive and make a little bit of margin and have a little something left over for all our efforts.''
Knowing what dealers want and working to be a good supplier, he said, means ``being able to provide them with intelligent answers and good service and a first-rate quality product that gives good value.''
Everyone, it seems, is ``under tremendous pressure today to make a profit,'' Mr. Sherkin said. ``The major rubber companies, in my view, typically don't provide enough opportunity for their customers to make the bottom line.''
That's where he feels Dynamic Tire comes in.
Like most private brand tire marketers, the company offers its dealers a still-evolving program that includes protective territories, a direct-from-factory container program, and a warehouse program that gives customers the opportunity to reduce their costs if they pre-order.
It also has product literature, brochures and point-of-sale handouts and is in the process of developing new promotional items.
For the firm's forestry tire sector, for instance, it has a program that provides an advertising/marketing campaign to end users-with dealer tag lines included to help generate business for dealers.
The firm's Web site, www.dynamictire.com, offers advertising support and information for customers; a new Primex Web site, www.primextire.com, will likely be launched by the end of this month.
Though Dynamic may eventually-possibly next year-look at using its Web site for e-commerce, Mr. Sherkin said it currently doesn't have online ordering or customer order tracking.
One advantage Mr. Sherkin believes his company has is ``we don't compete with our dealers, so we don't sell to end users. We support the customers who support us.''
In addition to exclusive territories, dealers want a consistent program, he said, and ``a line that's their own that they can go out and sell to customers time and again, and know someone won't come in after they've done all the groundwork and say, `Gee, thanks very much.' It's fairly basic.''
Questioned about fill rates, he didn't hesitate to admit that's a ``touchy'' issue.
``They're not too bad. But the problem for us is, as our Primex line continues to grow, it's difficult because we don't have the history of forecasting,'' Mr. Sherkin said. ``So on 2-year-old products, the fills are not too bad; on newer products, it's more difficult. But the rates are improving as we go.''
Some 98 percent of Dynamic's supply comes from off-shore manufacturers in the Pacific Rim region-about the only independent manufacturing source left, Mr. Sherkin claimed.
``Not that I wouldn't like to do business domestically, but (North American tire makers) don't seem to want to. We have to work with independent manufacturers who are willing to cooperate.''
While he calls Dynamic and its Primex line works in progress, Mr. Sherkin said the company plans to have a comprehensive farm/agricultural program for the 2003 spring planting season. It's also developing a container-handling program and establishing an industrial material handling tire division that will offer pneumatics, press-ons and solids.
He claimed that the company's forestry line is more comprehensive than any other marketer around-including industry leader Bridgestone/Firestone-in terms of range of sizes, patterns and carcass construction. Dynamic plans to expand its forestry offerings, as well, he added.
``One of the key factors is, if we make it easy for the customer by having comprehensive product line coverage, then they don't have to get products from several sources,'' he said.
That philosophy-and selling those ``work'' tires-seems to be working in favor of Dynamic's bottom line.