TRENTYRE IS ONE OF THE LARGEST MULTIBRANDED TYRE SERVICE PROVIDERS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND HAS BEEN IN THE MARKET FOR OVER 70 YEARS. THE RETAILER IS MOVING INTO ‘GROWTH MODE’, STRENGTHENING ITS POSITION AS A PROVIDER OF NEW MULTI-BRANDED TYRES AND MANUFACTURER OF RETREADS FOR TYRES, WHEELS AND ALLIED SERVICES TO CATER FOR ITS CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS.
TrenTyre’s current leadership team is comprised of Dries Nel, Sales Director; Peter Venter, Finance Director; Charl White, Operations Manager; and Ria Bronkhorst, Head of Human Resources, supported by Nigel Sowerby who was once with TrenTyre as Managing Director in 2012. Sowerby, who is no stranger to the South African tyre industry, rejoins the TrenTyre team bringing a wealth of industry experience. Together, they will be setting the tone in terms of strategy and future growth, backed by the company’s manufacturing partner, Goodyear SA. We caught up with Nigel and Dries virtually to find out more.
Welcome back Nigel. Does this mean that you will be returning to South Africa?
Having officially retired in 2018, I have no plans to enter the work force permanently. I have rejoined TrenTyre on a temporary basis as a Management Consultant and my role does not require me to be in South Africa. I now live in the UK and will continue to support the business from my home office, visiting South Africa as required.
I was approached at the beginning of July and asked if I would be willing to assist with repositioning TrenTyre, which of course, I was happy to be involved with. Former OTR Manager for Goodyear South Africa, Dries, joined TrenTyre in September and brings a wealth of experience in managing sales activities and building distributors’ capabilities. Dries’ career in the tyre industry began in 1999 and he has since occupied various Sales and Technical roles. As our new Sales Director, he is tasked with driving sales further via the creation of a strong team coupled with Key Account Managers and key appointments to manage National Accounts. Dries will also develop the OTR and Truck Technical teams, crucial additions to our Sales force as we zoom into our mining and truck segments.
Where does the total number of branches and factories stand?
We pride ourselves on a strategic nationwide footprint which is geared towards being in close proximity to customers and key transport routes. Currently, TrenTyre has 33 branches and eight retreading factories across South Africa.
Our strategy is to grow the footprint via by strategically placing physical branches and these are supported by 2 breakdown centres, satellite branches and mobile vans known as TruckForce vans. As you know, we launched our range of fleet efficiency services known as FleetFirst back in August 2017. The offering includes four services and one of them is TruckForce, the mobile van concept. We have 24 vans operating in strategic points and we want to reenergise this exciting concept, with a view to increasing their number, so we can further effectively service our customers, irrespective of where they may be located.
The COVID-19 has impacted many businesses in various ways. Tell us about the impact it has had on TrenTyre and its operations.
The truth is the COVID-19 pandemic has set back many companies and TrenTyre is no exception to this. We have faced headwinds which can be attributed to many factors such as limitations on customer visits. Building an engaged, empowered, and energized team is a priority for us at the moment. We are focusing on building the best, customer focused team to achieve the best results, and these results must reflect in their personal and business performance.
Of course, the lockdowns did result in fewer visits to our customers, but in-person visits are finally picking up. We are conscious this virus is still around. As a Company, we encourage our customers, staff and suppliers to observe the recommended health protocols while also encouraging our associates to get vaccinated so that we can return to a level of normality not too long from now.
So, what is the overall strategy, going forward?
Very simply, to go back to basics by way of our service offering and value proposition so we can continue to build market share and customer trust. This strategy is built on building blocks that target all market sectors, (including the mining segment), revenue generation via a multi-brand product offering and operating as an independent sales retailer. This combination of initiatives together with a Model Branch we will be introducing, we believe, will see a migration of customers to TrenTyre.
What about the retreading aspect of the business?
Retreading remains a large part of our business via our premium tread – Arctic – alongside a value brand introduced earlier this year and exclusively available to TrenTyre, ValueMax. By going back to basics and refocusing on all aspects of the business, we are reconfirming TrenTyre as a provider of a complete cradle-tograve service offering.
Customer trust is crucial to any business’s success. What’s your take on this?
We understand gaining customer trust and support takes time, and but we are prepared and are invested for that. 2022 will likely be a period of rebuilding and regrouping, with more lively market activity expected for 2023, especially since we have embarked on an exercise to receive ongoing customer feedback through testimonials.
Already, over the last few months, indicators show that we are increasing our revenue stream and improving our bottom line, which is encouraging, and confirms that we are on the right road.
Tell us more about TruckForce, the mobile van concept (Truck Force).
Our aim is to reignite TruckForce by means of a soft internal re-launch. We understand that we need to equip our Mobile Van Technicians with the know-how and savviness of entrepreneurs for them to go into the market with a renewed drive for success.
And long term? Where do you hope to go with this concept?
Long term we are looking to increase the number of vans operating in South Africa, but we know this is a process and will take time. At the moment, the focus is on ensuring we build the right capabilities in our team; a ‘man in the van’ is a combination of entrepreneurial savviness, technical know-how and overall knowledge of the tyre industry. These are skills that require consistent coaching, and we are proud of the work offered by the TrenTyre Training Academy team.
How would you sum up your vision for TrenTyre?
Our strategy is simple. Step-by-step, we will focus our efforts on delivering superior service levels to our customers, to continue to position TrenTyre in the market, both by way of footprint and reputation.