Placing value on independent enterprises
At Autopromotec 2017, Point S illustrated its growth strategy as far as the Italian market is concerned: a wide and solid network, but above loaded with opportunities to make the sector’s entrepreneurs more competitive while retaining their independence.
There are many ways to be "entrepreneurs". But as far as Point S is concerned – top independent dealers and manufacturers global network - "independent entrepreneurship" is to be preferred, and unlike what might be expected, there is no contradiction in this. "Point S was born in France, back in 1971, as a consortium of independent tire dealers, joined in a purchasing group. Soon after, though, we moved on to focus on retail outlets - says Guy-Olivier Ducamp, Point S Development’s West Europe director, currently engaged in developing the network on the Italian market -. Our philosophy, today as it was back then, is to promote the image of specialized tire professionals, while protecting their independence from any supplier and manufacturer".
A network that “speaks” one global language
Present in 32 countries with over 3,400 outlets managed by more than 1,700 entrepreneurs, Point S – responsible along with its associated partners of moving more than 20 million tires annually - is the first and only tire network found throughout the world with a single brand image. Following the principle of independence, each member is free to make his own entrepreneurial choices, drawing on the business solutions proposed by Point S in terms of brand and service selection. "Basically, we consider ourselves as an apartment building in which there are a few common rules to be respected, norms that identify us as a group facilitating our working together. At home, though, everyone can do as he pleases, in compliance with these rules", explains Lidia Komjanc, head of Point S Italia. "Free" from any parent company's directives, what Point S seeks to do is to gather data from network members to identify needs, opportunities, and benefits instrumental for everyone’s growth. “We provide our partners with many business development solutions, but we still grant them the freedom to chose which one to promote and implement in their individual retail points", explains Komjanc.
Thanks to the Group's consolidated global sales volumes, Point S can also count on important partnerships with major tire manufacturers (including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Hankook, Michelin and Pirelli), meaning that Point S network members can establish their own direct contracts with each of them, always without restrictions and maintaining their independence. Point S has also developed a line of own-brand products: not just tires but also spare parts and equipment used as a loyalty-enhancing tool for the end customer, in a context of quality and value-for-money. The Point S tire range includes Summerstar and Winterstar in addition to an All-seasons option (launched on July 1). All are designed and manufactured in Europe exclusively for Point S, in cooperation with one of the leading global manufacturers.
The path towards an “all inclusive” service
The latest growth strategy of the network both in Italy and around the world is based on diversification and therefore the ability to offer a complete set of products and services to the end customer. Hence, Point S has also developed a series of service packages to enhance the network, including each individual member, as well as its competitive edge on the market and the value of each member’s expertise: "The challenges facing traditional tire dealers, and in general any automotive workshop, lies in the ability to provide a complete range of services - says Ducamp -. In a digital world, where the tire will be increasingly featured on the Internet, investing in quality and a complete service package is the only key available to the entrepreneur". Exploiting its partner’s expertise in mechanical repairs and Roadworthiness inspections, Point S can concretely help its members to become modern "all inclusive" service centres. Modular tire packages, basic maintenance and repair activities also on suspensions, key-in-hand workshops or the necessary equipment to start any of these activities, including business plans, training, equipment and tools, financial services, full range of products a distribution network, management software, and so on.
The Italian market under the magnifying glass
Point S’ All IN concept looks at creating "multi-service" centres, capable of becoming a true reference point for any car-related need. The company’s latest expansion strategy in Italy, Europe’s third largest tire market, must, therefore, be considered crucial for Point S’ network. A couple of years ago, with the opening of the new Point S Italia Srl branch, a revival program began, and during the last Autopromotec event - the international biennial dedicated to automotive equipment and the aftermarket (Bologna, May 24-28, 2017) – it was showcased for the first time. Among other things, a three-year (2017-2019) investment plan was illustrated, which includes tools for image promotion, digitalisation and strategic partnerships with other networks and mechanical suppliers.
A few days before the Bolognese kermesse, Point S Italia signed an important agreement with TSC (Tires Sellers Club), one of the first networks of its kind created in our country, whose 23 tire service centres have now joined the network. "With TSC we share the same independent network philosophy: TSC is a small, locally based Point S - explains Ducamp -. Our agreement, the natural outcome of a partnership that started months ago, is definitely a "win-win" situation: thanks to TSC we can be present in a territorially strategic area. On the other hand, we offer the consortium and its service centres the advantages of joining a large and well structured network in terms of services and development opportunities".
The goal: expand through an enterprise network
Following the group’s partnership with TSC, the network now boasts 55 outlets in Italy, though mostly located in the Northern part. "Our goal is to have, within 3 years, a wide presence on the territory with 180 to 200 retail points. Figures that could as much as double through membership schemes dedicated to workshops and service centres that already provide tire care services but want to grow even further".
Since July 1, a real Point S "task force" has been set up, consisting of call centre operators and market consultants involved in network presentation and recruitment activities. "Autopromotec was a fundamental step, because in that context we have been able to show the whole industry the network’s transformation over the last two years - concludes Ducamp-. The trade show gave us the opportunity to tell everyone "WE ARE HERE TO STAY”!