Perhaps there might be some of our readers that might be skeptical as to whether business and supply chain digital transformation is the hype that certain industry analysts and technology providers continue to fuel in conversations and in marketing messaging. Thus it may be useful to share with our Supply Chain Matters readership, some definitive examples.
Consider the replacement tire industry for cars and light trucks where for decades, local tire retailers and service shops would replace tires featuring either single or multiple brands. Probably at first impression, automobile and truck tire distribution and retailing might not be considered to be a leading-edge growth industry. With so many different years and models of autos and light trucks still being driven by consumers and businesses, tire replacement dealers could not financially afford to stock various sizes and brands that might be in-demand, or risked the notion that customers would shop at some other dealer that had available inventory.
Thus over the past several years was the market opportunity for a distributor model that could provide inventory on-demand from regional logistics centers practicing advanced inventory management and logistics routing capabilities. Tire wholesaling was literally transformed in a mater of just a few years as the new service models came up with ways to be able to delivery orders to local service providers multiple times per day.
TireHub, is a two-year old startup cofounded by Bridgestone America and The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company that has now established 70 termed TireHub Logistics Centers across the U.S. since its founding in 2018.
TireHub was launched to offer the wholesale distribution of full passenger and light truck tire product lines from the Goodyear and Bridgestone companies, in addition to Toyo, as well as Goodyear and Kelly commercial vehicle tires. This provider’s mission statement indicates that the services provider is committed to setting a new standard of excellence for tire distribution in the U.S., will do it by focusing on the needs of dealers and their customers. Retailers order tires via online ordering and is staffed by a knowledgeable sales force and a regional footprint of logistics centers.
A prime competitor is American Tire Distributors which has over 140 distribution centers servicing U.S. retailer demand.
TireHub describes its mission statement as: “We are only successful when our dealers win, and their business grows. That’s why we work toward the same goal: serving customers the right tire at the right time.”
In a recent press release marking this services provider’s second-year anniversary, the company’s CEO stated: “During our second year, TireHub Hubbers demonstrated the determination needed to take TireHub from a start-up to a successful and growing business. We have overcome the obstacles and challenges that result from building a company from the ground up and have earned our place in the industry as a customer-centric organization. We have big goals for our third year and are proud of the progress we’ve made in such a short amount of time.”
The CIO stated: “We are a technology company. Early on, we decided that technology would be one of the main differentiators for success. We strive to leverage technology to remove any barriers of doing business with TireHub by creating a frictionless experience for our customers. Whether we are creating solutions ourselves or partnering with other technology companies, the goal is always to provide a better experience for our customers.” (Bolded phrase is ours)
This services provider has invested in Cloud based digital technology to reportedly include advanced demand and supply planning technology from ToolsGroup, an online payment and invoicing system from VersaPay, as well as Omnitracs Roadnet for route optimization
Thus is one example of digital transformation applied to an industry that classically lacked investment in digital technology until existing and new entrants demonstrated a new value for servicing tire replacement needs with on-demand inventory and selection.
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