A CONSORTIUM OF PROFESSIONALS
Set up by tyre specialists for tyre specialists, Professional Pneus is an independent consortium that provides quality B2B service. Much more than a purchasing group thanks to integrated platforms, central warehouses and software for managing their business
DEALERSHIPS, mass distribution, online sales. Drivers are surrounded by constant offers from a tyre market that is increasingly lively and animated by new protagonists and where the most qualified expert, the tyre specialist, is at risk of being put in the shade to the detriment of product quality, operator professionalism and, last but not least, end-user safety.
Eighteen years ago it was this situation in Campania that led to the setting up of the Professional Pneus consortium. Unfalteringly encouraged by the first nucleus of nine specialist retailers, it now has about 60 associates and is a large independent organization in the south of Italy. This happy coming of age has seen the achievement of numerous goals and constant growth in terms of turnover and associate training and professionalism. First and foremost, convenient buying supported by a retailer-dedicated IT platform with highly functional software that provides effective support for affiliates searching for the right type of tyre for different uses, updated prices and stock availability. Customer assistance is constant throughout the life of the tyre, with reminders about periodical checks via email or text message, which are also useful for creating loyalty and maximizing after-sales service. Moreover, the certainty of being able to offer very affordable prices, easy payment terms by credit card and zero-interest financing of the total amount with convenient monthly repayments. Strategically located in Lazio, Campania, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, all Professional Pneus centres offer specialized assistance with advanced equipment for all types of tyres – from motorbikes and cars to trucks, agricultural and industrial vehicles – and scheduled maintenance with light mechanical work such as checking and repairing brakes, suspension, silencers, batteries, oil changing and recharging the air conditioning. In other words, a complete service for drivers.
With a portfolio that includes the tyre industry’s most established brands as well as emerging and more budget-oriented products, the Consortium has always aimed at quality and has signed advantageous commercial agreements with major companies in the sector.
Faced with a general downturn in volumes of about 20% compared to previous years”, explained Antonio Vitale, chairman of the Consortium based in S. Antonio Abate near Naples, “…thanks to awareness- and loyalty-raising campaigns, the Professional Pneus network was able to contain falloff by an average of 5% and it handled about 95,000 tyres, a provisional estimate of the year-end total. The figure must be adjusted in part by changeovers to winter tyres, a constantly growing trend also in the south, where the association’s incisive awareness-raising campaign, municipal regulations on seasonal use and, last but not least, greater user awareness about increased safety with winter tyres, is spreading their use even in areas that are historically less inclined”.
Always committed to gradually improving service and competitiveness in addition to training associates, the new development introduced in 2012 was the Professional Pneus AssiPro Gold Card that has a number of tangible advantages. Primarily, the Consortium offers its end-users coverage, index-linked to tread wear and residual depth, for 4 years or 40,000 kilometres against accidental damage on the road, including impact with kerbs and pavements, a real catastrophe for tyre shoulders. The warranty is valid provided that customers pay to have the tyres checked with wheel rotation, balancing and alignment every 10,000 kilometres. The road safety campaign “Pensare prima di guidare” (think before driving) takes place twice a year, before the start of summer and winter, to raise user awareness about checking tyre efficiency, with free checks of tyre pressures, wear and damage by affiliated centres. Lastly, there are guaranteed discount coupons for anyone presenting a new customer, with reductions on the purchase of a new set of tyres.
The market also uses the web, where the Professional Pneus network offers dual support: for users, the Business-to-Consumer site www.gommistionline.it is a virtual store open 24 hours a day, where tyres and accessories can be found at advantageous prices – not to mention alloy rims by the brands handled by the consortium. Customers order the products on the website and pay for them when they are delivered to the nearest outlet.
For associates, the BtoB One platform is always in operation and includes participation in the collective purchase of containers of tyres that are then warehoused and made available to the Consortium. In this way, the commercial conditions for all brands are on a par with those obtained by wholesalers, with the consequent increase in competitiveness on the end market.