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OTHER VIEWS: Retreads offer value for fleets of all sizes

The commercial trucking industry is evolving.

Fleets want to be more efficient in business operations and seek solutions that not only impact the bottom line, but also enable them to operate sustainably.

As dealers, it’s critical to have the products, technologies and services to meet these shifting needs. That’s where retreads come into play.

Retreads offer dealers a proven solution for reliable, profitable and sustainable mobility that can help fleets lower the total cost of tire ownership. Dealers and tire manufacturers must be a strategic partner to fleets, outlining retreading’s value proposition for a fleet’s everyday business.

But before diving in on the advantages, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges dealers and tire manufacturers are up against as they seek to educate fleets on the value of retreads.

With the influx of low-cost tires on the market, some fleets are making decisions based on short-term costs rather than the total lifetime value of a premium tire casing and retread combination.

Additionally, many fleets still hold a common misconception that retreads are of lesser quality than premium new tires.

That belief could not be further from the truth. It’s time to build the business case for retreading, dispelling the myths and reinforcing the reliability, profitability and sustainability benefits for fleets.

Commitment to quality

Retreading is a best practice for large fleets. In fact, more than 90 percent of large fleets in the U.S. and Canada use retreads.

That said, many fleets unfamiliar with today’s retreading process still associate “road gators” — or the rubber found on the side of a highway — with retreads and question their reliability.

A 2009 study by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute concluded that improper tire maintenance was the primary cause of rubber on the side of the road, not retreads.

Further support for retreads can be found in a recently released report, Retread Tires in the U.S. and Canada, developed in partnership with researchers from Duke University, East Carolina, North Carolina State University and University of Michigan.

Experts cited in the report concluded that a well-maintained retread tire offers equivalent reliability to a well-maintained new tire.

There’s an opportunity for dealers to help educate these fleets by dispelling these misconceptions around reliability, citing research and highlighting the robust manufacturing process.

The retreading process has advanced significantly over the years thanks to the integration of sophisticated technologies, such as shearography, into the casing inspection and manufacturing processes.

The modern retread manufacturing process is intentionally robust, including multiple casing inspection points to determine if a casing is qualified for retreading.

Dealers have a unique opportunity to highlight these advancements and quality checkpoints with fleets to reinforce their overall commitment to quality.

This opportunity can be leveraged through plant tours where fleet managers can see the process first-hand or through detailed process walk-throughs like the one found on page seven of the Retread Tires in the U.S. and Canada report.

For example, Bandag dealers offer fleets the opportunity to tour facilities and watch the full retread process from start to finish. This “show, don’t just tell” opportunity helps reinforce the commitment to quality that goes into each product.

Long-term value

Fleets want to be profitable, and as commercial tire dealers, that means highlighting the greater value proposition of products and solutions to fleets to demonstrate how they can deliver on performance expectations.

It’s important to talk with potential customers about their overall tire management program to help them manage one of their most valuable assets over multiple cycles.

This ongoing discussion helps build trust and loyalty by demonstrating to a fleet that their dealer understands their business and can recommend the best products, technologies and services to meet their needs.

Premium tire casings are engineered to be retreaded multiple times and a premium tire and retread combination can last up to 500 percent longer than ultra-low cost tires that are used only once.

Additionally, fleets that incorporate retreads into their tire program have been able to lower their cost per mile to 1.5 cents per mile, compared with the average 4.5 cents per new tire by strictly buying new tires.

But let’s not forget fuel efficiency. Many fleets still believe that retreads have little to no impact on fuel efficiency.

However, data cited in the Retread Tires in the U.S. and Canada report prove that many quality retreads have a lower rolling resistance and provide better fuel efficiency than new tires.6 Not to mention, tire casings become more fuel efficient over time7, and fuel-efficient retreads are designed to work with fuel-efficient tire casings to reduce fuel costs.

By demonstrating the benefits of a quality retread and tire casing combination for long-term profitability, dealers can help build a strong case for implementing a retreading program while building loyalty with the fleet customer.

Environmental benefits

More and more large commercial fleets are making global commitments around sustainability as they look to reduce their environmental footprint.

  • From electric vehicles to clean diesel truck engines, there are many technologies in the market to support sustainability efforts in transportation.
  • As all fleets look for strategies to improve business operations, it’s important to remember the environmental benefits of using retreads:
  • Requires 68-percent less oil to manufacture retreads than new tires;
  • Saves 225 million gallons of oil per year;
  • Keeps millions of tires out of landfills; and
  • Conserves enough energy to power 29,000 homes for one hour.

Position the partnership

Building the business case for retreads is critical to helping fleets maximize their tire asset potential and minimize their total cost of ownership.

Talk about the technologies that are used to ensure retread quality. Discuss the cost savings and benefits of implementing a retread tire program for long-term value, And don’t forget to emphasize how retreading is an environmentally responsible choice.

Retreads are a reliable, profitable and sustainable business choice for fleets of all sizes.

It’s up to tire manufacturers and dealers together to serve as trusted partners to fleets of all sizes and help reinforce the value of retreads as we move towards smart, efficient and sustainable mobility in the future.

To download the Retread Tires in the U.S. and Canada report, visit bandag.com/retreadreport

Kyle Chen is the Bandag brand manager for Bridgestone Americas. He is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of commercial tire experience. He began his career with Bandag Inc., working in fleet sales and as a district sales manager before joining the commercial marketing group at Bridgestone Americas.

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