ETD said it is getting assistance from "collaborative forecasting and made-to-order productions."
The company said manufacturers are taking steps to increase fill rates with improved days of sales coverage, increased order frequency and targeting volume increases on the most popular and profitable tire SKUs.
"2022 looks like it will be as tight as 2021 with some very slight improvements," he said.
Tire prices rose about 20% in the last year, Clave said, and the cost to manufacture rose around 24%. This is due to several factors, including increased freight and raw materials costs, and recent increased tariffs in southeast Asia.
"There's no way to get around it," he said. "As an industry, we have to become more reliant on domestic production, and we have to reduce our reliance on import supply."
Recovery of the original equipment market has been hampered by a shortage of semiconductors for new cars.
Fewer new vehicles in the market also contributes to lower overall vehicle usage, along with other factors such as working from home, pandemic shutdowns, increased gas prices, an aging population and a younger generation less interested in owning a car, Clave said. This results in an increase in the average age of a vehicle, which in the U.S. is 12 years. That should be good news for the replacement market.
Other factors impacting the industry, Clave noted, were mergers and acquisitions in 2021 that introduced new, big players to the market. That will mean that more brands will be available in more markets, and competition will increase, Clave said.
Simons reminded dealers at the conference of the power they and ETD hold collectively within their footprint to compete with anyone.
"From Upstate New York, Western Pennsylvania, a little bit of West Virginia and a little bit of Ohio, we have a 1,000 points of sale between us," Simons said. "From Plattsburgh to Pittsburgh, nobody has a better sales staff. We can own our areas where we do business."
ETD, in business since 1997, operates five distribution centers: Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y.; and Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa.
Clave said all five distribution centers had year-over-year growth in 2021. In Pittsburgh, where ETD has been active for six years, ETD saw a 10.9% year-over-year growth in the market. In Erie, the company saw 3% growth.
Business in the more mature Buffalo market grew 6.8%, and thanks to moving into a larger facility, Rochester saw an 18.5% increase.
ETD said this year it plans to open a larger warehouse in Syracuse, where the company saw 5.9% growth in 2021 compared to 2020.
"Same concept (as the other sites), better productivity, better efficiencies. We should realize accelerated growth moving forward in the Syracuse market," Clave said.
The Syracuse facility is expected to open in late summer.
ETD also talked about becoming the presenting sponsor for the 2022 Buffalo Auto Show, which Clave described as a great way to "get our shared voice in the market."
The company also is working with charity. ETD partnered with Kids Escaping Drugs, a western New York addiction outreach organization.
"As a corporation, we have a social responsibility to give back," Clave said.
"We seek to help or assist them by offering employment opportunities to reintroduce today's challenged youths back into the community."