Goodyear has begun "a phased restart of tire production," and the majority of its plants are making tires again, according to Mike Dwyer (MD in the interview below), chief customer officer, Consumer North America. In addition, Cary Budzinski (CB), senior director, North America Commercial Sales, told Tire Business that the tire maker is seeing an increase in the use of retreads among fleets, as they look to maximize casings and postpone purchasing new tires.
Q How would you describe business thus far in 2020?
A (MD) Like many industries, ours has suffered from the abrupt decrease in mobility around the world. Throughout the pandemic, we've faced many unexpected challenges — from a sharp drop in demand for tires to creating a virtual workforce.
However, the past few months proved how truly essential our industry is in keeping the world's supply chain moving, delivering needed goods to communities and ensuring health care workers and others essential to public health and safety could continue to drive to and from work every day.
In this environment, we mobilized quickly to adapt, and we leveraged areas where we are well-positioned to meet consumers' current preferences for convenience and contact-free shopping. We saw an uptick in traffic on our e-commerce platforms, which allows consumers to research, shop and schedule tire installation right from their homes.
And at our network of company-owned retail locations, we initiated a "zero contact" service option to give consumers a convenient way to get their car serviced and eliminate common touch points throughout the process.
In our commercial business, we applied similar measures to serve fleet customers, offering "zero contact" options at our company-owned commercial tire and service locations, as well as free DOT inspections to help relieve some of the financial pressures we know fleets are facing to keep trucks on the road.
Despite the many challenges we are facing, we have been able to continue to grow our commercial business, launching our first commercial e-commerce partner program and announcing that we will become the preferred supplier of tires and retreads for Ryder System beginning in 2021, among other new business wins.
The pandemic also gave us a unique opportunity to step in and increase support for our communities, especially health care providers and foodbanks that are critical to supporting those impacted by COVID-19. As the situation continues to unfold, we will look for new ways to enable mobility and support communities where we operate.
Q What are some of the key changes the company has made in order to keep employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A (CB) Beginning with our Asia Pacific region, our teams demonstrated tremendous agility — adjusting our offices to a work-from-home model where possible. As the pandemic spread to the West, we applied the same measures in our EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and Americas regions.
In the U.S., our provision of tires and services to our customers was essential to keeping law enforcement, health care professionals and fleets on the road.
We quickly assembled a dedicated team that has been working tirelessly to ensure that our policies and protocols meet — and in some cases exceed — guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to help protect the health and well-being of our associates who continued to work in our manufacturing plants, logistics centers and company-owned service locations across the Americas.
In all of our facilities, we are urging both associates and customers to increase hand washing, practice physical/social distancing and to avoid handshakes or other close personal contact.
Additionally, to help protect our customers, we have increased disinfection of all touch points and offer our "zero contact" service options at our company-owned consumer and commercial locations.
It has also been extremely important for us to remain close to our dealer and fleet customers throughout the pandemic, continuing to build on the strength of our relationships and maintaining our service and support for them.