ATD also is investing in a micro-learning and communication platform, called Spark. It takes a commitment of just three to five minutes per day, Mr. Schiano said, for users to improve their skills.
The micro-learning site was designed not only to help educate ATD's sales team, measuring their progress and learning ability, but it also is being rolled out as a training platform for tire dealers, who then can educate their teams at their own retail stores. The goal, ATD said, is to drive engagement at an individual and team level — a key to retaining employees.
"What you can do is track over time the knowledge lift and growth that your team is seeing and align that to the result that each individual is driving," Mr. Schiano said. "We're seeing some very positive results internally, and we're piloting some of that work with our key customers as well."
The tire distributor will incorporate its customers' feedback on the site as part of the development and learning processes.
These innovations are among a toolbox full of technologies that ATD has made available in the aftermath of a tumultuous 2018, when it filed for bankruptcy protection before reorganizing and emerging later that year as a leaner, customer-focused entity.
"The whole industry has faced a lot of disruptions and challenges over the last couple of years," Mr. Schiano said. "We certainly have been part of that. So, we've really been actively not only managing those changes but also capitalizing on them."
Mr. Schiano said ATD put a great amount of energy into developing better digital capabilities, better insights and thinking differently about its relationships with its manufacturing partners. The goal, he said, is to work collaboratively with manufacturers and retail customers alike, while staying laser-focused on customers.
"It's always been a big part of who we are and how we operate," he said.
ATDMobile and the TireSeller platform are examples of that commitment.
In addition, Mr. Schiano said ATD is starting to release other tools to help its independent dealer and retail customers.
One such tool will arm dealers with information to help them sell the right tires in their market, be that in a specific region or just three miles from their store. This will provide them with insight on what inventory they should stock based on demand.
"Most of our tire retailers do keep a certain amount of inventory on hand," Mr. Schiano said. "We're working on tools that can help them make better decisions based on what we know about that market, what our advanced analytics team is able to gather and based on what they're actually selling. So we can help them identify where they over index and where they under index."
Another ATD tool uses data science to identify potential retail customers who are seeking tires and reside in a dealer's area. The dealer then can send targeted marketing materials to these potential buyers.
"With a product like tires, with a fairly infrequent purchase pattern and a long timeline, to be able to dial into that is very important," Mr. Schiano said. "We think that is going to resonate."
In addition, ATD will use advanced analytics to help customers optimize their overall pricing strategy, their margins and the their programs they participate in.
"By really helping apply advance analytics tools," Mr. Schiano said, "they can see, 'Hey, if I did X,Y or Z or made these minor changes, it could result in this type of profitability for me.' That's just not backside program dollars, but it's frontside retail margins. That's where we've put a lot of focus."
ATD is using tools such as microlearning to train, educate and advance its sales team, "so they can engage our customers and be more consultative than what's been historically more than transactional relationship.
Mr. Schiano called it "a big shift," something ATD has been working on over the last couple of years.
"It will vastly improve the use of doing business and prove the professionalism of our own work force," Mr. Schiano said. "We do this really just to stay focused on our customers to help them succeed.
"One of the things we say internally is our job is to help our customers thrive and drive into the future. It's at the core of what we think about. How do we bring these tools to the table so we help them make better decision as they go about their business? If we do that, and if we're viewed as trusted partner, that ultimately will be good for our business as well."