Goodyear has begun "a phased restart of tire production," and the majority of its plants are making tires again, according to Mike Dwyer , chief customer officer for consumer tire in North America. In addition, Cary Budzinski, senior director for North America commercial sales, told Tire Business that the tire maker is seeing an increase in the use of retreads among fleets, as they look to maximize casings and postpone purchasing new tires.
How would you describe business thus far in 2020?
Dwyer: Like many industries, ours has suffered from the abrupt decrease in mobility around the world. Throughout the pandemic, we've faced many unexpected challenges—from a sharp drop in demand for tires to creating a virtual work force.
However, the past few months proved how truly essential our industry is in keeping the world's supply chain moving, delivering needed goods to communities and ensuring health care workers and others essential to public health and safety could continue to drive to and from work every day.
In this environment, we mobilized quickly to adapt, and we leveraged areas where we are well-positioned to meet consumers' current preferences for convenience and contact-free shopping. We saw an uptick in traffic on our e-commerce platforms, which allows consumers to research, shop and schedule tire installation right from their homes.
And at our network of company-owned retail locations, we initiated a "zero contact" service option to give consumers a convenient way to get their car serviced and eliminate common touch points throughout the process.
In our commercial business, we applied similar measures to serve fleet customers, offering "zero contact" options at our company-owned commercial tire and service locations, as well as free DOT inspections to help relieve some of the financial pressures we know fleets are facing to keep trucks on the road.
Despite the many challenges we are facing, we have been able to continue to grow our commercial business, launching our first commercial e-commerce partner program and announcing that we will become the preferred supplier of tires and retreads for Ryder System beginning in 2021, among other new business wins.