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           COMPANY NEWS
        Goodyear – Retreading is Part of the Service Package
 Lezek Szafran, Goodyear Europe’s Retread Operations Director
 The nature of retreading in Europe is changing. It has been for some time, but the pace of change has accelerated in recent years. The global tyre manufacturers, the top four, at least, have directed considerable investment into retreading. What was once a lesser market segment has become a part of the service package offered by the market leaders as they compete on the fleet market to respond to the demands for the lowest cost per kilometre.
Goodyear’s strategy in Europe has seen the launch of its state-of-the-art retread plant at Wittlich in Germany and a complete revamp of its Wolverhampton operation in the UK, plus upgrades at the Amiens, France plant.
It is from these three locations that Goodyear serves the whole of Europe, backed up by a network of authorised Goodyear retreaders who specialise in high quality retread and fleet services.
European headquarters are in Brussels and retreading Business visited Lezek Szafran, the Retread Operations Director there to discuss Goodyear’s retread strategy in Europe. Also in attendance were Adam Stanton and Mirko Kraus, Szafran explained, “The European retread market has been relatively stable for some time at around some 5 million units per annum. That is covered in an equal split between hot cure and pre-cure solutions, but, we can see differences, country by country – for example, in the UK
and France there is a dominance of hot cure retreading. Here the look and the quality of the product is a priority. In Eastern Europe there is more demand for pre-cure, partly because of the ease of access to production compared to hot cure. “Goodyear sees the market growing slowly but consistently as the markets come to understand the cost effectiveness of retrading, and also the environmental benefits gained from retreading – lower running costs, lower use or raw materials, longer product life and deferred disposal of the end of life casing.” For many years retreads have been sold as a cheaper alternative to a new tyre. That has perhaps contributed to the misconception that cheaper means poorer. How does Goodyear market its retread products? “Retreading is an integral part of the truck tyre offer that we have,” said Szafran. “We don’t see retreads as a stand alone product. We do not go to the market and try and sell retreads as an alternative to a new tyre. We offer the retread as a part of an added value service that extends casing life and gives the clients a lower cost per kilometre and a lower whole life tyre cost. It is part of our service package.
“The fleets are facing a growing cost consciousness and as a key supplier Goodyear is doing everything it can to help reduce fleet operator’s costs and facilitate their fleet operations.” Goodyear’s three plants have the capacity to deal with the demand for retreads throughout Europe and the
company will continue to invest and develop these facilities to accommodate anticipated increase in demand for hot cure retreads throughout Europe. “From the existing plants we have the capacity to deliver retread services across Europe,” says Szafran. “We can use our new tyre distribution service, which has been developed to deliver tyres anywhere in Europe in a short time scale. This is supported by Goodyear’s tyre management system offered through its Truckforce Network, which covers the whole of Europe with fitters and service centres. So, our fleet customers are never far from Goodyear support, wherever they are in Europe.”
Can Goodyear really service the whole of Europe from three northern European production facilities? “Absolutely,” responds Szafran, “The hot cure market is predominantly in the developed markets of Northern Europe, and we can deliver to clients via our delivery infrastructure, throughout Europe.”
Retreading Business recalled visiting Pnues de Alcaide in Portugal, an authorised Goodyear retreader. There the in house operation was dedicated to Goodyear pre-cure, but the company’s hot cure clients were serviced from Amiens and Wittlich, which backs up Szafran’s statement that Goodyear can service the whole of Europe from just three production facilities.
“We offer a very high class logistics supply chain.” Added Mirko Klaus, “ In order for the customer to gain the maximum benefit we need to ensure the best service, especially in CoC accounts. They want their tyres turned around as quickly as possible. So the supply chain is very important. As a new tyre producer we have synergies that allow an efficient delivery of service using state-of-the-art equipment and our quality is always the same.” Handling such a wide market Goodyear must have a robust strategy for casing management in place. How does the company ensure that it has sufficient good quality casings?
“Tyre management plays an important role in guaranteeing a casing supply. “ Continued Szafran. “As I have made clear, retreads are part of an overall package. We endeavour to encourage proper tyre management at our fleet customers; checking pressures, checking alignment, braking problems, tyre rotation, and general maintenance. In that way the tyres are monitored and can be sent for retreading before they are too worn or damaged to be of use. On mainland Europe we have two main models for casing management. The first is Customers’ Own Casings, which is self
explanatory, the customer manages his casings, sends them to us, we retread them and the customer gets his own casings back. Some clients prefer the full control of their tyres. They know how they have been cared for and they want to maintain that management link. For that customer, CoC is the best option. “The second is the casing exchange – Here the customer often needs an immediate replacement and essentially he hands in one casing and gets a retread back – a retread on a general casing from stock. The onus is on Goodyear to supply the good quality casings. Of course, our inspection process is applied equally to every casing regardless of its source and no concessions are made on safety and quality regardless of the source of the casing.
“A third route to casing supply is the Bank Model. Here, the customer may have peaks and troughs in his tyre use and when he has surplus casings he can send them to us and they will be “banked” for his future use. When he needs a retread he can access that bank stock and pay the retreading costs at the time of need. We supply casings based on their credits with us. If they need more tyres than they have credits they pay the full price for a retread, but the norm is that we supply retreads as part of a whole life package so the stand alone retread is not a common arising with Goodyear.
“Of course, there is always some loss in the system as some casings simply can’t be used, or they have reached the end of their retreadable life and that creates a gap in our stocks, so we also buy from the open market – sometimes from existing customers who may have accumulated stocks, sometimes from casing dealers with whom we have an agreed quality policy. In short, we have the solution for all situations.”
“In general,” added Kraus, “our philosophy is based on total tyre mileage, and that includes casing management. Our offer includes first tyre life management. If this is done properly then the casing can be retreaded. This is offered to all our new tyre customers. The clients know that we will retread and that is why our main supply is from our own casings.”
Szafran continued. “This service is enhanced by our latest E-Casing tool. This is where all tyre data is recorded and our customers have direct access to information about their own tyres on their own fleet. This offers full traceability of casings and gives the clients access to all documentation and invoices at the touch of a button. They can see the whole paper chain for the life history of any given tyre from the minute it leaves the production line as a new tyre,
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