40 years ago, in search for a cleaner and better retread product for Brazil, Tony Nicolini and a few partners became the first Bandag retreader in Brazilian market, the second largest truck tyre market in the world.
Major Milestone for Budini
In 1982, hot-cap was the dominant technology, and Budini was trying to sell a pre-cured retread product that cost three times more. The challenge was greater than nice pamphlets or a good sales speech. Proof was necessary! We spoke to Tony’s son, Alexei Nicolini, who provided us with the following account of the history of Budini in the Brazilian retread market and the development of the company’s business as a technology supplier to the retread sector.
Forty years ago, our fleet customers did not have information about their tyres to help them make the right decisions, nor did they know how to get such information. Most of them used a paper form process that just ended up in a dead file cabinet, with very little utility for a fleet’s tyre and retread choices.
Truck and bus tyre business generally operates in kilometres (or miles in some countries), thus knowing the cost-per-kilometre (CPK) or cost-per-mile (CPM) of every tyre would be the best way for a fleet to make decisions about tyres and retread choices.
Facing the challenges of the time, Tony realised it would be necessary to use computers to manage tyres and that he would need to develop this from scratch. In the time before hard disks, in the infancy of the Microsoft DOS operating system, Tony assembled a team to develop the first computerised tyre control system able to track tyres from cradle to grave across multiple life cycles and calculate the real CPK of thousands of tyres.
The goal was to educate and empower our customers with a tool (a software) to facilitate the decision-making process based on real data, real facts, measurable and quantifiable from their own tyres. Not just data from tyres and retread tests, but all tyres and retreads running.
Data collection processes were created, tyre change cards were invented, and other ideas compatible with the times helped facilitate the data collection and data entry process into a computer system.
At that time the Bandag pre-cured rubber technology was so far superior to the existing hot-cap process that it was much easier and faster to compare and prove superiority to the competitor products, and thus Budini successfully ignited the Bandag brand in Brazil.
While helping fleets get organised to properly track their tyres and calculate CPK, it was very noticeable that when tyres receive the proper attention and importance, all tyres would last longer, even the new tyres, reinforcing the importance for a fleet to measure and quantify results from their own tyres instead of comparing to others.
Budini created a separate division from the retread shop to provide tyre management services to all fleets with one goal: extend casing and tread life.
The need was not only to educate on the use of computer programmes, but full tyre management practices involving tyre data collection, inventory management, tyre maintenance, data processing and analysis. Every level of the company became involved, starting with the tyre fitters all the way to the owner and other decision makers.
The proper combination and application of skilled labour, technologies and equipment results in casing life extension. Casing life extension results in a lower CPK, and it also results in less fuel consumption, more safety, less work, less issues on the road, and it benefits the environment.
Having accurate data is very key to making tyre and retread related choices, but more is needed to decrease CPK. There must be action, not only re-action to reap the greatest benefits. Being pro-active with tyre maintenance is necessary to ensure casing and tread life extension, and this is very different to calculating CPK.
To simplify this to our end-customers, a series of integrated technologies was invented, linking tyre maintenance with tyre information and tyre equipment. There was a need for education about these new technologies.
To help with hands-on training, Budini created the Budini Mileage Institute in Brazil, a place where the entire life cycle of a tyre occurs in real life in one place. From selling tyres and providing truck maintenance services that affect tyre wear, to tyre maintenance, tracking, retreading, repairs and scrapping in a real-life business scenario, BMI is used as a tyre management training centre for our customers, a technology development lab for Budini and showroom to everyone.
Throughout the last four decades Budini has organically spread knowledge and learned from customers in over 40 countries, and we believe our mission continues now with greater importance than ever. The once financial focus that motivated the companies to reduce tyre and fuel consumption through tyre management now has the additional motive of carbon footprint reduction.
World governments as well as tyre and retread manufacturers are now talking about the circular economy, an economy aimed at eliminating waste by prolonging the usage and recycling everything.
In a circular economy, maximising the life of the tyre will happen not only because it makes financial sense, but because it will have a measurable environmental impact. And when a tyre is no longer useful it will turn into something else, and there will be traceability all the way through.
Thanks to the evolution in technologies, tyre management processes have been simplified to the end-user over the decades, especially with the development of wireless integrated data collection tools, smartphone apps, IoT and web-based applications with dashboards.
The transportation industry is a major contributor to CO2 emissions in our planet. Budini has now added to our mission to educate our customers about this and joined forces with specialists in the field such as Sustrend in Chile, to provide technology and solutions to the market.
40 years later we find ourselves with the same challenge as when we started. To educate and empower transportation fleets everywhere to take action that will greatly benefit themselves and the rest of the planet.