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Prometeon Fleet Service
Thanks to new offers and strategies, fleets using Pirelli tires will be able to rely on high-end products and services at reasonable costs. Tire dealers can look forward to financial certainties and a network whose standards are consistently high.
Nowadays, purchasing tires means, at least as far as fleet services are concerned, purchasing a series of services rather than just the needed goods. Focusing exclusively on price could mislead fleet managers into making mistakes that would translate into higher operating costs in the short/medium term. Many operators are beginning to realize this and are progressively changing their management strategies on this vital component: consequently, the Prometeon group has reorganized its Industrial Vehicle Division introducing new financial services and sales tools for Pirelli tires, with the collaboration of the whole supply chain as well as dealers involved in new roles. Pneurama spoke with Marco Solari, the Prometeon Tire Group Europe CEO.
How have tire selling strategies to industrial fleets changed in recent years?
The market happens to be quite inconsistent and varies from country to country in Europe. Italy, of course, represents one of our main markets, one that is highly evolved from a technical point of view but is still finding its feet as far as distribution is concerned. Here the dealer tends to influence the final choice, while in other countries, with a more modern approach, we observe fleet managers taking an active part in the decision making process on which tires to purchase, how to use them as well as budgeting, often communicating directly with the manufacturer (through dedicated consultants) in negotiating the economic terms; the dealer, on the other hand, follows all the practical aspects of the service: demounting and mounting operations, tire repair, monitoring, and on-site assistance.
Are we to expect a similar transformation in our market sometime soon?
Yes, I believe so. In fact, our market is already changing and we are gearing up to face this transformation, but always keeping our dealer partners firmly in the picture. We obviously need a new approach, but I believe that our long standing presence on the market will help us in this. Our Supertruck network is already well developed and widespread (90 points in Italy), and every area of the country is well covered; thus this will be the starting point to increase and standardize the quality of our services. Therefore, the dealer will play a central role in our business and our customers will no longer have to worry about where to turn to for their needs: all they need to know is where the nearest Supertruck point is.
In addition to working with dealers, have you also changed something in your company structure?
That’s right. We have four new specialists in our sales division, with a deep knowledge of industrial fleets’ primary needs, entrusted with the task of visiting well established customers as well as new potential clients to illustrate the technical and economic advantages of our new products and solutions. Our goal is to lead our clients, old and new alike, towards a qualitative approach to the business taking into consideration more than just numbers, which we still intend to pursue through new financial instruments. Our system will help our dealers guide the fleet manager’s choice toward solutions that can guarantee the lowest costs through choices that are no longer based solely on prices.
Very often, decisions are taken considering prices as the main factor, and not technical contents or long-term performance. A tire with unsuitable technical characteristics and poor performances runs the risk, in the long term, of generating much higher running costs when compared to a product that may have a higher initial cost but is more suitable for the needed use. Starting today, our experts will carefully point out these aspects and will be additionally supported by new financial instruments that will allow fleet managers to proportionally pay the cost of a tire throughout its use. Therefore, the initial cost of tires is no longer the main purchasing factor: the advantages of a well balanced premium product will be evident from the outset thanks to a much more competitive price compared to past premium products. Deferred payments will guarantee regular payments without dangerous peaks. And this, for a component that makes up between 2 to 4% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a vehicle, is very important. Our new financial instruments will keep the financial impact within these ranges.
What about the dealers? Any advantages for them?
Absolutely. First of all, tire specialists will be able to focus on their core business, i.e. supplying all “physical” services from tire demounting and mounting operations, tire management and on-site support and assistance. This will further guarantee a constant cash inflow, which is a particularly critical issue when working with industrial fleets. Everything will be guaranteed by Prometeon and its financial partners, regardless of the creditworthiness of the client or his liquidity. Payments will be very rapid and any additional financial costs will be managed by Prometeon in collaboration with the dealer. This will create a relationship that we can define as a current account, which will include all operations: so extensions on small purchases will be possible. In addition, the opportunity to finance the creation of a stock will put the dealer in a position to guarantee the availability of the necessary product, reducing service times.
Is the dealer going to be involved in the consultancy program?
We need our dealers to be fully focused on managing the fleet and not on being concerned with competitiveness or what the closest competitors are doing, which would take time away from his business in and out of the workshop, so the main advisory activities will be managed directly by Prometeon, allowing our dealers to stretch forward towards generating value for their business.