Trucking activity slow in August
ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Trucking activity in the U.S. slowed considerably in August, according to the latest figures from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), but the year-to-date tonnage-shipped index remained ahead of the 2002 pace.
The ATA's seasonally adjusted Truck Tonnage Index fell 9.5 percent in August, reflecting lower manufacturing rates and retail sales as well as the blackout in the upper Midwest and East Coast, according to Bob Costello, chief economist for the ATA.
``Despite the August figure,'' Mr. Costello said, ``I still believe that truck tonnage is on a recovery path. Between very lean inventories throughout the supply chain and improvement in new orders for manufactured goods, truck tonnage should continue to increase.''
The ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. The August figure is preliminary and subject to change, the group said.
Trucks hauled 8.9 billion tons of freight in the U.S. in 2002, or more than two-thirds of all tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, the ATA said. That volume translated into $585 billion in revenue for domestic motor carriers.
Maxxis among top 10 in Taiwan
SUWANEE, Ga.-The Maxxis brand recently ranked fifth in Taiwan's Top 10 Global Brands for 2003, a ranking by Interbrand Corp., an international brand consulting firm.
Rankings were compiled from a three-month survey of more than 1,000 companies and were based on brand value, marketing promotion, market status and development potential, Suwanee-based Maxxis International said. The brand was the only tire on the list, which also included brands from computer, software and communication equipment producers, a food and beverage maker, and a bicycle manufacturer.
Maxxis is a unit of Taiwan's Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co. Ltd.
Conti, distributors support youth day
LOWELL, Mass.-Continental Tire North America Inc. partnered with two New England tire dealer groups to support regional youth programs this summer.
The program was part of Conti's General Tire Baseball U.S.A. Tour to launch the General Grabber AT2 light truck tire line. Tire Warehouse Central Inc. and American Car Care Centers (ACCC) of New England participated in the youth program.
Conti secured 100 tickets to a sold-out Lowell Spinners game. The Lowell-based club is the Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The tickets were given to Tire Warehouse and ACCC, which planned a special outing for children involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Adams Project, a local summer camp for teens. Conti also provided gifts and food as well as stadium spending cash.
Conti also made a $1,000 donation to the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Keene, N.H.-based Tire Warehouse is a 52-outlet dealership, and ACCC of New England is a 31-store group of independent dealers who are part of the national ACCC network of 1,073 stores.
Goodyear marketing executive resigns
AKRON-Goodyear's chief marketing officer has resigned and, as part of a global marketing restructuring, the Akron tire maker will not replace the executive position.
Cathryn M. Fischer-who had served as vice president and chief marketing officer since April 2001-resigned for issues of work and life balance, the company said.
In a statement, Robert Keegan, chairman and CEO, said Ms. Fischer's move is not a change in Goodyear market focus, and many of her efforts will continue in the company's turnaround plans.
BFS factory receives honors
GRANITEVILLE, S.C.-Bridgestone/Firestone's Aiken County, S.C., plant in Graniteville has received two honors in recent weeks-being named one of the 10 best manufacturing facilities in North America by IndustryWeek magazine and one of South Carolina's top four manufacturers by the state's chamber of commerce.
IndustryWeek (IW) rates manufacturing facilities on a variety of criteria, including: benchmarking; community involvement; customer and supplier relations; employee relations; environmental and safety programs; inventory management; manufacturing operations and flexibility; market results; productivity; quality; and use of technology.
The non-union Graniteville plant was selected from more than 240 facilities nominated between October 2002 and March 2003.
``These plants set the standard for excellence in manufacturing today,'' said Patricia Panchak, IW editor-in-chief. ``They define the winning strategies for achieving world-class performance.''
IW singled out the Aiken plant for its team approach to employee relations, its kaizen constant improvement program, its automated manufacturing system and significant and constant reductions in materials inventory, scrap rates and landfill waste.
The magazine also noted the plant's unusual work schedule. Production employees work 84 hours in each two-week pay period-48 hours one week, 36 hours the other, in 12-hour shifts. Every 28 days, each worker gets seven consecutive days off in addition to two weekends free per month.
The plant's workers rotate between night and day shifts, eliminating shift pay differentials, the magazine said.
The 1.76 million-sq.-ft. Aiken County facility will receive a commemorative plaque at a ceremony scheduled for the afternoon of Oct. 15.
The 41/2-year-old plant makes passenger and light truck tires for customers such as General Motors Corp., Isuzu Motors America Inc., Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc., DaimlerChrysler North American Holdings and the North American replacement markets. Operating on a 24-hour-per-day, seven-days-per-week schedule, the plant makes 25,000 tires daily.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce cited the plant for its ``strong improvement program in quality, safety and the environment provide benchmarks for all South Carolina businesses to strive.''
ACCC members get smoke alarms
SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla.-American Car Care Centers Inc. (ACCC) recently participated in a free smoke alarm program offered by the nonprofit National Center for Prevention and Research Solutions.
``Operation Fire Safe''-funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration-is designed to distribute free smoke alarms across the country.
ACCC joined the program to receive the alarms for its member dealerships and their employees from the non-profit group. Each ACCC member employee received up to three smoke alarms.
The non-profit also plans to distribute alarms at motorsports events with help from corporate sponsors including Summit Racing Equipment, Ford Racing and ACCC.
Goodyear promo raises funds
AKRON-As part of a promotion giving away a $50 U.S. Savings Bond, Goodyear will donate some proceeds from selected tire purchases to the nonprofit Veterans Foundation Inc.
The Super Savings Tire Sale promotion runs from Sept. 21 to Oct. 25, with national print ads, network cable TV and network radio spots, Goodyear said.
As an annual project, the veterans group runs the nationally televised American Veteran Awards, designed to raise awareness in support of veterans and active duty service members. ``We hope that more companies will support America's service organizations who work in the trenches each day to improve the lives of service members and their families,'' said Harry Shaw, president and CEO of the non-profit group.
Roadway earnings down for 3rd qtr.
AKRON-Roadway Corp. reported a 10-percent increase in revenues for the third quarter, but expenses related to its acquisition by trucking company Yellow Corp. helped push results to a loss of $3.4 million for the quarter.
Third-quarter sales were $751.6 million compared with same-quarter sales in 2002 of $681.7 million, Roadway said.
Without $24.3 million in acquisition-related charges, Roadway would have posted net income of $13.5 million, compared with $6.94 million last year, the Akron-based trucking firm said. The $1.1 billion Yellow acquisition still is pending, but it is expected to close by year-end.
The company expects 2003 revenue to grow 7-8 percent.