With all the turmoil in the tire business lately I've found myself deluged with commentary about Goodyear. I want to share my viewpoint on the situation in regard to independent tire dealers who operate as G-110 dealers.
To offer some background, I've been in the tire business my whole career and own 11 stores in Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia. We've been a Goodyear G-110 dealer for 15 years and have seen a lot of changes in that period of time.
The tire business like most all businesses, can be extremely volatile, as the needs of our customers and the vehicles they drive change at an ever-increasing rate. The demand to keep up with the changes is difficult to do but has to be addressed in order to stay in business.
Over the past four years we have taken a lot of different paths in what we felt would increase our market share and provide better margins on the products we sell by offering a large variety of different manufacturers products to meet consumer demand.
What we've experienced is a proliferation in slow moving products, margins that declined due to a cultural change of selling on price and not features and benefits, warranty problems and lack of proper training.
After four years we have come full circle. We now exclusively stock Goodyear, Dunlop, Hallmark and Republic tires, which I feel is the best mix Goodyear has ever offered to its dealers.
Goodyear has demonstrated itself in being a great resource for our company and has made a large turnaround in several key areas that I want to express.
c The G3 concept of having many lines all distributed from one source is in place.
c The products meet customers' needs for both quality and price.
c Fill rates have increased dramatically, and products have been delivered on time.
c Billing and receiving is convenient and correct.
c Region management has been diligently involved in improving our business in many ways, from working directly with our people in all locations to analyzing what products we will need in the future and ways to go to market.
c The level of communication consistently exceeds my expectations when I have questions and need a solution. They always return the call!
c With the introduction of the GBMS3 business management system not much had changed, but over the last six months the system has had several enhancements that are very good.
c We have the ability to get on the Web and set up links to all of the vendors we currently need and have the ability to get connected through the company's XPLOR Web site to check on orders, shipping and all information that is currently going on in Goodyear.
c The Gemini program had a rocky start in my opinion but has gone through a lot of changes that have made it a very good program.
c The point of sale pieces and advertising are gathering steam and working well.
c The Gemini service managers have visited all of our locations and performed comprehensive analysis of the service departments.
c Gemini has provided us with good partnerships with NAPA, Aramark and Chrysler, which we use as much as possible.
I think Goodyear has made great advances in delivering on its promises to provide its core base of dealers with programs, products and people that make our business successful.
Friend's Tire & Hi-Tech Service Inc.
Indian Trail, N.C.