Tire retreaders, like their customers, have been tutored well by hard economic times. Today, retread suppliers are not only offering continually improving products, but also new levels of tire management support to help fleets realize the maximum benefit from their total tire investments.
“Yesterday's business model focused only on the product,” says Jay Hofner, general manager, Commercial Retread for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. “The tough economic times of the past 18 months have made it more important than ever for businesses to do the right things — the things we always said we should be doing all along.”
For retreaders, one of those things is to help customers understand what is really happening with their new tires and retreads in order to maximize the total miles of operation from each new tire and its retreading, while minimizing lifecycle costs. “We can deliver very powerful [tire] usage statistics to our customers through our fleetHQ system to help them identify problems before they occur,” Hofner says.
If a carrier is having more tire-related breakdowns in one part of the country, for example, Goodyear can make that problem visible to fleets and then help them pinpoint the causes and remedies, whether it is chronic underinflation, improper maintenance, or selecting the wrong tire for the application.
At Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, tire management has also become a part of the retread package for many customers. “We go all the way from just selling a tire to helping fleets drive better metrics — improving the factors they use to measure success,” says Tom Trego, channel manager, distribution for Bridgestone Bandag. “When you get away from using just new tires, you need to understand why tires are leaving your fleet.”
Like building a house on a poor foundation, if a retreader is working with a sub-par product, there is only so much that can be done at retread time.
“If you are going to be a solid retreader, you need to buy a premium new product with premium casings up front,” Trego says. “Then you can track the effects of things like maintenance practices, tire inflation and the performance of tires in specific applications to reduce total lifecycle costs.”
“Fleet customers continue to search for ways to reduce costs and maximize the life of their retreads,” notes Tom Brennan, vp of Michelin Retread Technologies. “They want help with tracking and managing assets, with the goal of keeping the tires on their trucks as long as possible. In addition, more detailed and in-depth reporting helps fleets manage resources and reduce costs.”
While retread suppliers have been focusing on providing customers with more timely, actionable information to help them get the most from their tire investments, the quality and variety of retread offerings likewise continues to improve. There are retreads optimized for fuel efficiency from all the major suppliers, such as the Fuel Max line from Goodyear, as well as application-specific retreads like the BDY2 for severe-service duty from Bandag or the X One XTE tread for trailer axles from Michelin.
There are value-priced retreads and premium retreads, too. Marangoni Tread NA and Goodyear, for example, each offer a “splice-less” premium retread designed to deliver longer, more even tread life and other benefits.
Goodyear's seamless Unicircle retreads adhere better to the casing, according to the company, creating a tighter fit that helps to improve traction.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEBSITES:
Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions
Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Marangoni Tread NA
Michelin Retread Technologies