COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Home products retailer Home Depot Inc. is retrofitting zero-turn mowers it rents through some of its stores with the non-pneumatic Michelin X Tweel Turf tires in an effort to reduce service calls and customer complaints.
Tire/wheel-related issues make up over 40% of all downtime, service calls, machine recoveries and parts usage for Home Depot rentals, Michelin North America said in announcing the business arrangement with the Cobb County-based retailer.
Monitoring uptime, or what the industry refers to as "rental readiness," total cost of ownership and customer-feedback channels led to this improvement opportunity for Home Depot, Michelin said.
Converting the ZTR mowers it has in its rental program nationwide allowed Home Depot to eliminate every single service call, downtime and negative customer experience based on tires as the root cause, Michelin said.
The technician labor hours, which had been in the hundreds of hours, and the parts cost, which had been in the tens of thousands of dollars, have been eliminated. Home Depot operates rental locations at over 900 stores in the U.S. and 175-plus in Canada, out of its nearly 2,300 stores throughout North America.
To date, roughly 200 ZTR mowers have been retrofitted with Tweels, Michelin said.
Vincent Ianne, senior manager of Equipment Rental Fleet & Product Support, Home Depot, said solving the mower maintenance issue represented a "potential huge win" that would allow the company to reinvest mobile technician's time in other endeavors.
"Through all the evaluations, the Michelin team was fully supportive to ensure we had the perfect match for our units and strategic expectations," Mr. Ianne said, noting that using the Tweel on a trial basis exceeded all reliability and financial targets, prompting the full-scale conversion.
"To simply say that the Tweel itself and the Michelin relationship has exceeded our expectations would be an understatement."
Justin Brock, marketing manager of construction/Tweel at Michelin, said: "The Michelin team was excited for the opportunity to put the product claims to the test. We designed the X Tweel Turf tire to meet the growing customer demand to reduce downtime in the commercial mower segment."
John Reynolds, Michelin/Camso rental manager for North America, said, "Due to this project success, our team continues to work with the Home Depot team to investigate additional opportunities to leverage not only Michelin Tweel technology, but also other products across our product offering."