WAKEFIELD, Mass.Alliance Tire Americas Inc. has gone through many structural and management changes in an effort to continue its growth plans domestically.
Still, the company's main focus is service related, Alliance Tire Americas President Jim Clark told Tire Business.
I think that there are a lot of competitive products out there, he said.
Sometimes without having the opportunity to go out and provide a real introduction to Alliance's products, Mr. Clark said the company's offerings can be looked at erroneously as commoditizedwhich we do not believe....
We believe that we have a very strong differentiation in the market, particularly around the tire maker's Improved Flexion (IF) and Very High Flexion (VF) tires.
Alliance has seen strong growth in 2013 and 2014, and Mr. Clark said this year's first quarter is sizing up strong as well as the company expands its resources and staffing to better target markets.
These additional resources are out there to help train, be a service resource, be a knowledge base and be a feet-on-the-ground to help our customers differentiate our products to their customers, he said.
Alliance Tire opened a 100,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Pomona, Calif. on March 2 to service customers in the western U.S. better.
This distribution center addition brings the company's warehouse count in the U.S. to four, with the other locations in Houston, Memphis, Tenn., and Parkesburg, Pa.
What that does is it allows us to ship to 80 percent of our customers in one day and 98 percent of our customers in two days from those locations, Mr. Clark said.
When looking at Alliance's functional businessnot taking into account its revenuehe noted that half of it comprises the company's working directly with large distributors across the U.S. and Canada, providing containerized tire shipments from its Indian and Israeli factories. The other half of its operational footprint is the transactional warehouse side of the business, he said.
The addition of this warehouse...really kind of starts to close us in, in terms of getting to a goal of 95-percent one-day delivery, Mr. Clark said.
Bruce Besancon, vice president of marketing, agreed that service is a primary goal, acknowledging the West Coast has become a bigger focus for the company.
When we looked at the business, we took notice that we could be better servicing our customers on the western side of the Rockies and in a better time frame, he said.
It's a growing economy in the West, and then our newest location is right next to one of the largest ports in North America.
Mr. Clark added that Alliance has had market penetration in the West for some time, but we just want to raise our visibility...and even increase our footprint a little bit more out there.
The California warehouse will stock Alliance Tire Group's Alliance, Galaxy and Primex brands, as well as Aeolus-brand truck tires, for which Alliance Tire Americas is the exclusive North American distributor. The facility runs two shifts per day to maintain a fast turnaround of warehoused products, the firm said.
To bolster its growth in the West, Alliance Tire recently named industry veteran Michael Bicknell to fill the newly created post of regional sales manager-West Coast.
With his addition, along with several others, Mr. Clark said Alliance has set up employees around the country so that, at most, customers are a phone call away from placing an order and getting speedy deliveryoften within hours.
The company also has been adding personnel nationwide to support expansion efforts.
Whereas a lot of other organizations are reducing staff,...we've had a really great run over the last five years, he said.
Many of the added staff members are in customer service, Mr. Besancon noted, because out in the field, it's the people that make that difference when they are speaking to dealers, distributors or consumers using the tires. They know that there is a person behind the phone and that they can actually get something done when they need it, he said.
Alliance also has added Anthony Cresta to the newly created position of West Coast field application specialist and J.D. Lewis as the company's regional sales manager for the Western region.
Mr. Clark said Alliance aims to continue to expand and grow, and all its recent moves are in support of that objective.
For instance, the company opened a manufacturing plant in Dahej, India, last December and has begun shipping tires from that location.
The ramping up of that facility, the new California warehouse and staff additions have spurred increased growth, Mr. Clark said, and that's driven by our customers' demand.
I think our actions speak pretty loud relative to the success that we are enjoying and have enjoyed in the market, he added, noting Alliance will continue to make investments.
Jim's kind of taken us down that path and with his leadership, we're really kind of looking strongly toward the future (growth), Mr. Besancon said.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6143; Twitter: @jenniferkarpus