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Leveraging Modern Supply Chain Technology to Revolutionize the Tire Distribution Industry

Peter Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer, TireHub
Peter Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer, TireHub

Peter Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer, TireHub

I’ve been fortunate to spend many years working in supply chains with great companies like ICI Paints, Starbucks and Mattel. From the factory floor to the store, or the coffee bean to the cup, or the design concept to the Walmart shelf, I’ve had a front row seat to witness how supply chains have transformed over time.

  ​We recognize that our success is fundamentally a by-product of our secret weapon – our people 

Today, there are so many exciting things happening in supply chain. Digitization is at the top of the list. Companies are looking for cutting edge technologies, like big data and machine learning; sensors and the internet of things; automation, robotics and 3D printing; and, of course, the ability to match demand and share capacity pioneered by Uber.

There is also increased customer and consumer demand for ‘real-time satisfaction.’ Suppliers are expected to get a product into a customer’s hands more quickly than ever before. Amazon has been the major disruptor in connecting customers with inventory and then rapidly picking, packing and delivering – which means that everyone else must mobilize to keep up and make their ‘last mile’ capability a competitive reality.

Interestingly, these factors also affect the tire distribution industry, which has changed significantly over the last ten years. Inventory has increased while time has done the opposite. Tire dealers now handle a hugely complex product range and must satisfy customers needing new tires in hours, not days. While last mile capability is powered by technology, serving thousands of tire dealers across the country relies on the trust that distributors like TireHub will find ways to ‘say yes’ to their requirements.

The tire industry is based on speed. Consumers want a quick turnaround from the moment they decide they need new tires to the time when they drive away with a new set of hoops. Dealers require multiple deliveries each day to make sure they have the right tire at the right time.

The opportunity to leverage technology to successfully address these expectations of real-time satisfaction is huge. So, for TireHub, providing a technology platform – in this case, our e-commerce B2B portal – that allows dealers to order the tires they need quickly is mandatory. And since time is of the essence, we pair that with an operational model that provides a minimum of four-time daily deliveries to areas within a 20- mile radius of a centre. That needs to be coupled with excellent product availability driven by intelligent customer insights, inventory modeling, demand planning and route planning. We must be relentlessly committed to helping our dealers ‘say yes’ to every customer.

The supply chain technologies that drive our business are important. Our ability to get an order to a customer as quickly and efficiently as possible is something that we focus on every day. But we recognize that our success is fundamentally a by-product of our secret weapon – our people, or Hubbers, as we call them.

There’s a unique opportunity in the tire industry. New competitors, consolidation, changing technologies and innovations - like ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles - make this an exciting time for our business. And while the latest artificial intelligence tools might not be the trend today for tire distribution supply chains, you can be sure there is a place in the future for this - and other supply chain innovations. But today and every day, TireHub is focused on delivering an efficient supply chain that can service our customers and help them to keep ‘saying yes’ to their customers.

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