Q: Have you added/curtailed services during the pandemic? What changes have you implemented?
A: We have implemented many additional precautions to reduce contact between individuals and assist with social distancing, including but not limited to, suspending visitors into our centers until further notice, offering a no-touch option for capturing proof of delivery, and modifying the will-call process to limit human interaction.
Our customer service and sales team members have been mobilized in varying geographical locations to ensure we are available to support all business needs.
Q: What does the supply chain look like? Is there a market segment where supply could be an issue moving forward?
A: Our supply-chain and logistics team continues to focus on supply and demand as well as inventory levels. Current orders to our distribution centers continue to be on schedule and products continue to flow. The team has prepared for many scenarios to ensure we have the product our customers want when and where they want it.
Q What concerns are you hearing from your employees?
A: A lot of efforts have been focused on protecting our associates, our customers and the communities in which we work and live to the best of our ability. Our focus remains on people.
We have been working diligently in partnership with our suppliers to source and ship sanitation supplies for all distribution centers including masks, gloves, disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, thermometers, tissues and hand soap.
We hosted a webinar with all associates to reinforce safety protocols and other important information. This also provided us the opportunity to answer questions and address any concerns from associates. A survey site was established for associates to submit additional questions following the webinar, and we are responding to questions as they arise.
Q: Have you had to adjust staffing levels? And if you haven't, do you expect to do that in the future?
A: Many of our dealers have shared with us actions they have implemented with regards to reduced hours and modified staffing. We too have modified hours of operation and have taken additional action, while never straying from our commitment to service excellence or our dedication to the health and safety of all team members.
While our customers may not talk to the same NTW associate each day to handle their needs, NTW's commitment has not changed. Our skilled associates are here to partner with and will continue to exceed expectations, by providing the product needed, the tools required, and offering additional support along the way.
We will continue to navigate this unprecedented and evolving situation and work alongside our customers and business partners to weather this crisis together.
Q: What are you doing to keep morale up?
A: Our driving force and strongest asset are our associates. We have implemented additional communications initiatives with team members and we are making sure that associates understand and feel comfortable with our additional safety protocols and pandemic illness procedure.
All associates are in constant contact and have established a cadence of virtual meetings and calls to connect with support team members and ensure all business continuity initiatives are functioning as planned and all team members are safe.
We also distribute company-wide monthly updates in our internal newsletter featuring stories of associates helping associates, associates assisting customers and dealers within the communities we serve. We also have the opportunity to recognize associates who continue to go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of fellow associates and customers.
Q: How are you getting the word out to your customers that you are open and safely operating?
A: We're maintaining open lines of communication with our dealers via email blasts, phone conversations, webinars and online channels to ensure they are receiving timely updates from us through multiple channels during this pandemic.
Q:Do you think the government can do more to help small businesses? What else is needed?
A: While we find ourselves faced with much uncertainty at this time, I don't believe there is a defined answer for what will work for all small businesses or what the "new normal" will look like. What I do know is that our industry is deemed an essential business by the Department of Homeland Security, and therefore, all of our locations are open for business and taking additional precautions to serve our customers.
We will continue to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of team members and customers while remaining committed to exceeding customer expectations.
Q: Do you expect a surge in business as stay-at-home orders are lifted, or will people be reluctant to spend money?
A: As stay at home orders are lifted, I believe all segments of the tire market will begin to bounce back.
Q: What unique experiences/stories can you share about running a business during this pandemic?
A: We have watched as our world, our industry, our company, our communities and our families and friends have been impacted, but what has remained the same is the commitment I have seen and experienced firsthand from associates assisting other associates and their continued dedication to exceeding the expectations of our customers.
I could not be more proud to see team members quickly and positively implementing change, thinking outside of the box and contributing in areas beyond their traditional scope of work to help one another.
There has been no shortage of shared stories from dealers extending their appreciation for additional support and providing access to resources for guidance, and for this I am grateful.
My advice is simple in this dynamic environment — the health and safety of all team members and customers must remain the priority. Maintain open lines of communication with all team members, suppliers and customers.
Ensure you have a pandemic illness procedure in place. Implement health and safety protocols that comply with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local municipalities.
Q: What steps do you think will become part of the new norm when COVID-19 is behind us?
A: We are currently working towards what our "new normal" looks like. The health and safety of all team members and associates will remain our number one priority. NTW is committed to continuing to serve our customers to the best of our ability, regardless of the landscape, and will be prepared to do so.
Q: Do you expect any future disruptions in business if the quarantines around the country are resumed?
A: As an essential business, all our locations remain open for business and we are working diligently to maintain the flow of product and the level of customer service that customers have come to expect from our team.
Q: What would you like your customers to know about your operation that they may not realize?
A: There are many stories of associates going above and beyond to help one another, regardless of business unit. One that I am very proud to share is from the team at the NTW distribution center in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The team packaged and shipped buffs that can be used as cloth face coverings to all 600-plus NTB and Tire Kingdom locations. Buffs were sent in addition to disposable masks and reusable masks. The D/C team worked efficiently to package and ship the items to help fellow associates stay safe in their interactions with one another, customers and suppliers.
NTW is a wholly owned subsidiary of TBC Corp., which has been in operation for more than 60 years. TBC is one of North America's largest marketers of automotive replacement tires through a multi-channel strategy serving wholesale customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico through TBC Brands, National Tire Wholesale, TBC International, and TBC de Mexico.
Additionally, TBC responds to the needs of consumers in search of total car care at more than 600 company-operated tire and automotive service centers under the brands Tire Kingdom Service Centers and NTB Tire & Service Centers. TBC, through a subsidiary, also owns the Big O Tires and Midas franchise systems.