Modern Tire Dealer

JUN 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D J u n e 2 0 1 9 4 E d i t o r i a l C lose to a year ago, changes in the way major tire com- panies wholesaled their tires, especially as the news became public, seemed like aermarket Armageddon. e changes did shake things up, but they were hardly a sign the apocalypse was upon us. Far from it, although there has been some disruption. It almost seems like it was yesterday. In January 2018, Michelin North America Inc. announced it was purchasing 50% of TBC Corp. from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. When the companies combined their Tire Centers Inc. and Carroll Tire distribution centers, National Tire Wholesale, or NTW, was born. A few months later, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. cut ties with American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) before publicizing its TireHub LLC joint venture with an unlikely partner, Bridgestone Americas Inc. en Bridgestone dropped ATD as a distributor of its consumer tires in the U.S., officially paving the way for TireHub to compete with ATD. As you might expect, NTW and TireHub had problems with logistics in the months that followed. ATD already had its distribution network in place, but filed for reorganiza- tion under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in order to reduce debt and increase its financial flexibility. How are two of the largest domestic tire wholesalers, NTW and TireHub, faring in 2019? Aer losing millions of Goodyear and Bridgestone tires and emerging from bankruptcy in December, is the largest wholesaler, ATD, back on track? Dealers told me there have been problems, but said they are adapting. To find out more, I asked the three principals in this drama about their progress: Don Byrd, president and chief operating officer of NTW; Peter Gibbons, CEO of TireHub; and Stuart Schuette, CEO of ATD. ey didn't reveal a lot, but you may find some additional revelations if you read between the lines. Byrd admitted to facing "obstacles," but said they were all were met with swi responses, "making NTW and all of our team members even stronger and better equipped to exceed customer expectations today and in the future." NTW has more distribution centers than either TireHub or ATD, nearly 120 throughout the United States, including locations in Alaska and Hawaii. "NTW, as an organization, has momentum following a suc- cessful year of transformation and integration," said Byrd, who is also executive vice president of TBC. "We have a very strong value proposition supported by industry-leading talent, an extensive portfolio, excellent market coverage and programs all built on the foundation to provide the best possible service to our customers. "We're eager to continue our evolution as NTW to drive sellout and profitability for retail tire dealers ultimately helping them build their business while positively impacting our industry and driving success for one another for years to come." Gibbons, who came to TireHub with a strong background in supply chain operations, has consolidated 83 Goodyear and Bridgestone company-owned wholesale warehouses into 69. at includes a recently opened warehouse in a new market, Ft. Myers, Fla. "As we approach our year in business, the benefit of being a young company is that we are continually evolving," he said. "e first year inevitably had its challenges, but our will to win is unmatched and we learn something new every day. e mentality and opportunities that come with being new and nimble mean that we are always looking for more ways to help dealers. "We have the flexibility to pivot quickly in the name of great customer service. Just within the last few months, we've changed our hours of operation, improved our delivery cadence, increased product availability, and integrated with more POS and shop manage- ment soware solutions for our customers and added more top talent in all areas of our business. We're making all of these changes in the spirit of making good on our commitment to say 'yes' to our customers every time. "At TireHub, we're here to change distribu- tion in the tire industry for the better and we firmly believe the best is yet to come." In 2016, ATD had 115 distribution centers in the U.S. and 23 in Canada. at has grown to 120 and 25, respectively. Unit volume, which was close to 40 million tires in 2017, is down because of the exit of Goodyear and Bridgestone products. e company did say results last year were in line with its expectations. "As we've said before, our purpose at ATD is to help our customers thrive and drive into the future," said Schuette. "We are committed to bringing our customers the tools and insights they need to help drive traffic to their stores, enhance their operations, and maximize their profitability. "Our award-winning analytics tools are designed to help our customers — from the independent tire dealer to national retail- ers — stay competitive through a strategic product screen to meet the needs of their markets and consumer demand. "We know that we can serve them in ways no one else can. We're excited about the future and continuing to serve our customers and manufacturer partners for the next 80 years." I'll end with this. e three largest wholesalers in the U.S. have only one brand in common: ey all sell Toyo tires. ■ If you have any questions or comments, please email me at NTW, TireHub and ATD ADDRESSING WHOLESALE CHANGES ONE YEAR LATER Bob Ulrich By 'THE BENEFIT OF BEING A YOUNG COMPANY IS THAT WE ARE CONTINUALLY EVOLVING,' SAID GIBBONS.

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