How do consumer tire orders compare with last year? With 2019?
We saw the consumer market begin gaining momentum at the end of 2020, and that growth has been consistently strong this year vs. both 2020 and 2019. Given the forecast of record travel this year, we expect the momentum in the consumer market to continue. SUV and light truck applications continue to grow, reflecting the growth in those vehicle segments.
How do commercial tire orders compare with last year? With 2019?
We continue to see a positive trend and strong sales in our commercial products compared to both 2020 and 2019. We are seeing this consistently across medium truck, agriculture, trailer and industrial product segments.
What types of product shortages have you experienced this year? What do you expect for the rest of the year?
Supply has been a worldwide issue this year, and we don't expect those challenges to go away in the short-term. What we're seeing in the industry is that this is going to continue the rest of the year.
We're working with the manufacturers to get as much product as we can so we can serve the needs of our customers. We have to stay innovative in how we take care of our customers and make sure we're getting them the supply they need to the best of our abilities.
What kind of trends are you seeing in the marketplace? How is your company reacting to them?
Regarding supply for this summer, while overall supply has been challenging, we've been building our inventory, where possible, for the summer driving season to make sure we have supply for what our customers will need. Given all the challenges the industry is seeing, we feel we'll be competitively positioned with supply as we go through the summer.
What were some of the procedures/changes your company implemented to tackle the challenges brought on by the pandemic?
ATD did not suspend operations at any of its facilities. Even though we had to scale back across the board, we kept every location up and running. We were thankful for the support many of our customers received through the initial rounds of the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans that rolled out. That — coupled with the consumer relief checks that came out — certainly contributed to the turnaround in the industry that began in the second half of 2020.
COVID-19 accelerated the shift we have been anticipating to a more digital marketplace. We've been working on our transformational journey over the last five years and a big part of that work has been developing more online capabilities.
During the pandemic, when stay-at-home orders started coming out across various states, we were able to pull a lot of information together. Our sales team was able to stay fully engaged and get this information to our customers. We also sent regular email updates. We filmed videos with messages on what was going on with our company and what we were hearing. We pivoted to helping our dealers adjust to how consumers might prefer to buy tires even after stay-at-home orders were relaxed.
What do you see as your biggest challenge for the second half of the year? What do you plan to do to tackle that challenge?
Getting supply is going to remain paramount, as challenges with the global supply chain that we have seen so far this year continue. Our supply chain teams are continuing to help manage the impacts for our customers through planning and collaboration with our manufacturing partners.
How did your 2020 sales compare with 2019?
Our 2020 sales exceeded 2019.
How do you expect your 2021 sales will compare with 2020? With 2019?
It's really exciting how different this year is than a year ago. Even with the difficulties with the global supply chain, 2021 is shaping up to be a great year for ATD and the tire industry. We expect the momentum we have seen building the first half of the year to continue.