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Commercial network still growing

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GREENSBORO, N.C.—Since 1999, the American Commercial Tire Network (ACTN) has offered reciprocal emergency road service at predictable prices to all non-national account customers of its tire dealer members.

While the services offered by ACTN have expanded somewhat over the years, emergency road service is still the backbone of its operations, according to John K. Snider, chairman of the ACTN and chairman and CEO of Greensboro-based Snider Fleet Solutions.

ACTN received approximately 70,000 service calls in 2012 through its call center, compared with between 58,000 and 59,000 in 2005, according to Mr. Snider. However, some ACTN members don't use the ACTN call center, preferring to take their own calls, he said.

The network began with five dealer members and now has 18—representing 434 service locations in 43 states and combined annual revenues of about $2.2 billion—including some of the biggest names in the commercial tire business.

Besides Snider, members are: Belle Tire Distributors Inc. of Allen Park, Mich.; Bob Sumerel Tire Co. of Erlanger, Ky.; Boulevard Tire of Deland, Fla.; Commercial Tire Inc. of Meridien, Idaho; Cross-Midwest Tire of Kansas City, Kan.; Custom Bandag of Linden, N.J.; McGriff Tire of Cullman, Ala.; Parkhouse Tire Inc. of San Diego; Pete's Tire Barns in Orange, Mass.; Pomp's Tire Service Inc. in Green Bay, Wis.; Raben Tire in Evansville, Ind.; Redburn Tire of Phoenix; Service Tire Truck Centers of Bethlehem, Pa.; Sullivan Tire Co. Inc. of Norwell, Mass.; Tire Rama of Billings, Mont.; and Valley Tire Co. in Charleroi, Pa.

“We've added a couple of members and lost a couple in the last few years,” Mr. Snider told Tire Business. The member dealerships also have at their disposal 1,870 service vehicles, operate more than 75 retread plants and employ more than 7,500 nationwide.

The original idea behind the ACTN, according to Mr. Snider, was that members could offer their local fleet customers reliably excellent, consistently priced road service in contiguous areas of the U.S.

Since its founding, however, the ACTN has branched out into other services, such as financial, sales and health insurance benchmarking, he said.

Chief financial officers, safety personnel, retreaders and other officials of member companies with special expertise meet regularly to discuss topics of interest, Mr. Snider said. “From those meetings, they build relationships, so they have folks they can contact when they need to talk about different things.”

The ACTN is governed by a six-person board drawn from dealer membership, Mr. Snider said. Three new members are elected annually. According to board rules, each member may serve two consecutive two-year terms, then must wait one year before seeking re-election, he said.

Although ACTN is a limited liability partnership, the corporation does not own any part of its members' businesses. The organization advertises its services in truck fleet industry magazines, with members sharing the ad costs, Mr. Snider said.

Expansion is always a possibility with the ACTN, but not necessarily a probability, he said.

“We're always interested in a new member if it's a good fit,” he said. “But we try not to have a lot of geographic overlap. We have a pretty good footprint already, so it's hard to find new members with the necessary criteria of multiple locations and no geographic overlap with existing members.”

For now, the ACTN is content with its current business structure, although it always seeks new blood to serve the organization.

“We're trying to get a lot of second-generation people involved,” Mr. Snider said.



To contact this reporter: mmoore@ crain.com; 202-662-7211.
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