AN ALL-INCLUSIVE OFFER
The strength of Fedi Gomme is to offer an all-inclusive service for road transport operators
Analyzing customers and their special needs is important for any business and at any historical moment, but it is indispensable when a society is experiencing one of the biggest global economic recessions. This was why Fedi Gomme launched third-party tyre management, a complete service for tyres that meets the needs of certain types of customers.
“Every month a medium-small road haulage firm is visited by 4-5 representatives for new tyres, 2-3 for retreads, in addition to the tyre specialists in the area. So you can imagine what it must be like for large firms. If you then add on the time for these meetings…” – explained Giuseppe Zecchi, head of Fedi Gomme. – “So he needs someone who can follow everything to do with the tyres that are mounted on his fleet of vehicles: from choosing the product to regular maintenance to solving any unexpected problems along the way”.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, this and other considerations like it led to the proposal by a company in Tuscany (Tavarnelle Val di Pesa): not just sell tyres but to include them and everything they need in an all-inclusive service at a fixed price calculated on the estimated number of kilometres and stipulated in an annual or multi-year contract. Not just tyre leasing but much more if we consider the in situ technical assistance and consultancy that Fedi Gomme provides its customers all over Italy.
At the end of 2008, the company merged with the Marangoni group and expanded its services for tyres: new tyres, retreads, retreading materials, machinery and now the third-party management of tyres.
It is estimated that Fedi Gomme now handles about 50,000 retreaded tyres. While the company is retreading tyres that arrive from all over Italy, a fleet of about thirty specially-equipped vehicles is loaded with tyres and goes to customers to service their truck tyres in situ. A fleet of vans-cum-workshops operate regionally and locally, but there are also big articulated trucks that leave every week from Tavarnelle Val di Pesa to meet and help customers. The tyres are not only checked and replaced if necessary, they are continually monitored to assess lifespan based on use, the season, the type of roads travelled and expected mileage. Obviously, the vehicles have everything they need for maximum efficiency, even the equipment required for returning the suspension to its original settings. In certain situations, the mechanics are able to change the entire wheel-tyre assembly in just a few minutes to keep vehicle downtimes to a minimum.
Behind the scenes there is the equally important work of managing in situ data collection. The travelling mechanics insert the data in their palmtops for transfer to the Pneumatika program created and developed specifically by the firm in Tuscany. The databank means that local warehouse supplies are managed more efficiently and meetings can be arranged between the mechanics and customers.
The advantages for customers are multiple: the tyres become a fixed and precisely estimated cost (only breakages are excluded) and, most importantly, they stop being something to worry about. “The transport operators can concentrate on their work” – explained Riccardo Noci, one of Fedi Gomme’s 25 travelling mechanics – “because if there is anything wrong with their tyres it means that the mistake is ours”.
So it’s hardly surprising that customer loyalty is high. “We can say that it is 99.9% because we have lost only one customer since we began this type of activity… and it was not because of our negligence but for political reasons” they say with understandable pride at Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.
• A sixty-year history
When it was opened in the ’50s, Fedi Gomme handled tyres, accessories and services for cars and motorbikes, but with the arrival of Giuseppe Zecchi in the ‘80s, he and Antonella Fedi gradually moved into the industrial vehicle sector. With technological progress in retreading and investments in research and training qualified personnel, in the ‘90s the company began its current integrated tyre management programme for which it is well-known in Italy.
When it merged with the Marangoni group at the end of 2008, the company had access to its cold retreading technologies and modern equipment that allowed it to make this side of the business increasingly efficient. This was the case, for example, of the Ringtread, the ring-shaped tread that restores the original design and does not require splicing, and of the special machinery developed by Marangoni Meccanica for making it and applying it to casings.