Tire dealers looking for ideas to enhance their operations and boost sales and profits should consider what their major suppliers are doing and then adapt those concepts to their own dealerships.
Many tire makers and distributors at this time of the year gather together their best dealers to share plans for the coming year and talk one-on-one about ways of doing business together better.
Out of these sessions often come great ideas dealers can apply to their own operations.
At Goodyear's recent North American dealer conference, company executives talked about reorganizing the firm's North American and Latin American operations into one Americas business unit. The objective is to better serve customers by combining processes such as product development, market forecasting and product supply to gain overall operational excellence.
Certainly the idea for making this move evolved over months of planning and reviewing how such a change would benefit the company and its customers.
Tire dealers should do such strategizing, too.
By taking a step back, looking at the dealership as a customer would, taking time to gather employees to talk about how the business is run, and soliciting ideas for improving the dealership's operations, tire dealers can come up with their own plan to achieve operational excellence.
At another dealer meeting this year conducted by regional tire distributor K&M Tire, a speaker talked about the importance of taking time every so often to walk across the street and look at the dealership as a customer would.
A simple idea, certainly, but how many tire dealers actually do it? This is an easy but effective technique for evaluating whether the appearance of the dealership is conveying the appropriate message to customers—that this, that this is a good place to have their vehicles serviced. If not, then it's time to make some changes.
At Hankook Tire America Corp.'s recent Partners' Day dealer gathering, company executives talked about the firm's long-term strategy of becoming a Tier 1 tire supplier and the fifth largest tire maker in the world by 2018.
The company is following a plan that includes investing heavily in research and development, designing cutting-edge products, increasing production strategically and globally, improving tire delivery to customers, using marketing to enhance Hankook's brand image and gaining OE contracts with prestigious vehicle OEMs.
Hankook is making steady pro-gress on its goal, in part, because it has a clear strategic plan.
Many tire dealers may not think their dealerships are big enough to require such a formal approach to long-term planning. Yet as their suppliers have shown, developing goals and strategies to achieve them can have a huge payoff.
It's never too soon—or too late—to take your game to the next level.