On behalf of the supply chain
Assogomma – Tires under control
At Autopromotec 2019, Assogomma and Pneumatici Sotto Controllo (Tires Under Control), supported by the main trade associations, renewed their commitment in favour of the tire supply chain.
A virtuous sector, rich in professional competence and entrepreneurial experience. A sector that contributes significantly towards road safety and environmental protection, thus becoming a valuable asset to promote and protect. These are the concepts behind Assogomma’s storytelling developed at Autopromotec, an international biennial event dedicated to automotive equipment and the aftermarket, which was held in Bologna from the 22nd to 26th May, this year. The exhibition has been a fixed appointment for us for many years now," says Fabio Bertolotti, director of the association, "and we have been attending practically all along on behalf of tire manufacturers, but also as part of the tire supply chain”. And once again, the exhibition space was divided between Assogomma and Pneumatici Sotto Controllo, a joint commitment between Assogomma and Federpneus (association of specialized dealers) aimed at promoting a widespread awareness of the role tires play in road safety, as well as its environmental implications.
"This is certainly not new for Assogomma: we are trying to establish a 'good neighbourly' relationship with all the players in the supply chain and the institutions - explains Bertolotti -. We are firmly convinced that nothing, or very little, can be achieved on our own. On the other hand, a joint action can produce the desired results". Therefore, the participation of Assogomma and Pneumatici Sotto Controllo at the 28th edition of Autopromotec was dedicated to "pragmatism": "we tried to talk directly with specialised repairers and tire specialists". Hence Assogomma, Federpneus, Airp (Italian Association of Tire Retreaders) and CNA (National Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises), wasted no time in carrying out a survey to collect the views and opinions of all the stakeholders involved. All four associations set up a number of totem stations asking visitors to spend a few seconds of their time answering some key questions, aimed at highlighting the current state of the sector. "The main objective of this joint initiative was to detect the general sentiment of the sector in order to understand if our initiatives are going in the right direction, which would give us the necessary determination to step up our game in pursuing our goals", continues the director of Assogomma. And the 1,300 questionnaires filled in and submitted during the five days of the event, was the first positive response.
Putting dishonesty with its back to the wall
The "battle" in favour of the tire supply chain can rely also on another precious ally, the State Police which was also present at the fair, once again alongside Assogomma and Pneumatici Sotto Controllo. "For over fifteen years a close collaboration was established between the parties involved and the State Police, which resulted in periodic actions in the field, including the now famous annual campaign "Safe Holidays," says Fabio Bertolotti. Over the years, the many initiatives carried out by Assogomma-Pneumatici Sotto Controllo with the State Police have contributed to a widespread awareness about the vital role played by tires in road safety. These same initiatives, however, have also uncovered a number of "grey areas" and critical issues. One such noteworthy initiative saw the Police engaged, in 2018, in 749 checks by as many tire dealers scattered throughout Italy. What emerged was rather alarming: 22% of the businesses checked were, in fact, non compliant, while 9% were downright illegal, as they were not registered with the Chamber of Commerce thus not entitled to exercise the profession. In total, 280 sanctions were raised, 35 charges to the Judicial Authority and 63 seizures. "The checks carried out by the Police officers had, first of all, the merit of linking the problem of road safety with tires: a tire dealer who operates legally guarantees the necessary safety, environmental protection and specialized work - says Bertolotti -. However, controls could not help uncovering the existence of 'pockets of illegality', distributed throughout the country. Percentage wise these amount to just a few exceptions in a rather large sector, absolutely devoted to fairness and professionalism. Unfortunately, however, rotten apples damage the whole basket. These few exceptional cases could, in fact, bring the sector to its knees through unfair competition, causing difficulties not only to those who respect the rules, but ultimately the consumer himself. They also contribute to 'bad publicity', offering an image of the sector that does not correspond to reality". This phenomenon deserves to be further investigated, which is why similar controls will be carried out by the Police also in 2019 and 2020.
"In a short time, we will have an even larger and more representative sample", confirms Fabio Bertolotti.
The evidence of a virtuous sector that runs the risk of finding itself with the back to the wall has further convinced Assogomma, if ever there was a need, to strengthen its commitment in favour of the supply chain. The survey carried out during Autopromotec 2019 is just one of the many initiatives that testify to the intense "lobbying" activity with Assogomma and the main industry associations working together, in the front line, on a common objective. "We are demanding that law 122/92, which regulates the auto-repair system - confirms the director of Assogomma - be reformed and adapted to the technological evolution currently sweeping through the industry. In our opinion, it should not only be restored, including a minimum list of equipment necessary to properly exercise the profession, but also made mandatory with clear penalties. This would enhance the figure of the specialized tire dealer”.
Furthermore, the associations are lobbying in favour of a greater traceability of the product sold and related services, whether mounting, assembly and ELT disposal. "Every tax receipt should separately indicate the amount related to the sale of the product, services and the environmental contribution paid - indicates Bertolotti -. It is a legal obligation, but even in this case there are no penalties for those who do not comply with the rules. Finally, we cannot avoid speaking about e-commerce channels. Although still marginal in the tire sector, this phenomenon has recently experienced a significant growth, as the director of Assogomma also confirms, and as such cannot be ignored: "E-Commerce is one of the available sales channels. It can be an opportunity, provided that all operations are carried out according to the rules. The common thread - concludes Bertolotti – is still legality, which must be pursued at the borders, in ports, on the road, in points of sale in order to restore a system of fair competition in favour of a sector that produces great value for the consumer and for the country.
The Italian edition of the E.T.R.T.O. recommendations (European Technical Organisation for Tires and Rims), updated to September 2018, can be downloaded from the website pneumaticisottocontrollo.it. The text of this publication contains all the useful information on characteristics, choice, storage, use and maintenance of different types of tires allowing both the specialist dealer – who must comply with the provisions of Law 122/92 - and the end user to obtain the best performance of the entire wheel unit. These recommendations are periodically updated and distributed by Assogomma, Federpneus.
SAFE HOLIDAYS 2019
Last May, the annual "Safe Holidays" campaign got under way once again. Now in its sixteenth edition, this initiative, sponsored by Pneumaticisottocontrollo, aims to raise awareness among motorists about the importance of having their tires checked regularly especially as the summer season approaches. This year's edition involves five departments, corresponding to six regions: Piedmont, Marche, Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria and Puglia. Traffic Police officers in these areas, who in the weeks leading up to the start of the campaign took part in an initial training activity on the subject of "tires", are now engaged in checking the state of the tires on the cars stopped, on a sample basis, on the main roads in their area. "In these sixteen years “Vacanze Sicure”, performed more than 200,000 checks throughout Italy - says Francesco Berna Nasca, deputy chief of police and deputy director of the Traffic Police section of Bologna -. Among the main results achieved by this campaign, but more generally thanks to the collaboration of Pneumaticisottocontrollo, I would like to highlight an increased sensitivity towards the crucial role tires play”. A good result, indeed, that should not make us forget how much more needs to be done, as Berna Nasca himself confirms: "In one out of five cases we still find something wrong: smooth tread, non-compliant tire, different tires mounted on the same axle, mismatch between the data recorded on the registration document and what is actually on the tire". We must not give up. "Vacanze Sicure is a crucial initiative, not only in terms of control and sanctions, but also - concludes Berna Nasca – in keeping the motorists informed and increase their awareness on the subject".