NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Collaborative effort on the part of all Goodyear associates—with its dealers as an integral part—has made the tire maker a boom company again, according to Goodyear President and CEO Rich Kramer.
"We need to get ready and prepare for growth, because it's coming," Kramer said in his Jan. 29 keynote speech at the 2013 Goodyear Dealer Conference in National Harbor, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
A clear, consistent strategic plan has led Goodyear to industry leadership in both sales and technological innovation, Kramer said. He singled out Steve McClellan, president of Goodyear's North American Tire Business unit, for particular praise in implementing and leading company strategy.
But Goodyear didn't always have a strong business strategy, and that caused trouble for the company, according to Kramer.
"Ten years ago, you would have seen a company that made tires there wasn't even a demand for," he said. "About one-third of the tires we made didn't even bear our name.
"We had a business model that wasn't working," he said. "That seems obvious today, but it wasn't back then."
Goodyear started its strategic turnaround by "cranking up the innovation machine," according to Kramer. That innovation set the pace for how new tires entered the market, so that Goodyear now enjoys substantial sales growth even in a time when tire shipments are at a historic low, he said.