TREADING A UNIQUE PATH
By TA News Bureau
When it comes to reducing tyre cost, tyre retreading, undoubtedly, is the most economical option for any vehicle owner. However, an Indian consumer perceives very little differentiation among major branded treads available in the country. Hence it is the service differentiation that gives Tyresoles, India’s leading tyre retreading company, the cutting edge over competition. As a front runner in the industry, the company has always set new bench marks for the Indian tyre retreading services. In many ways Tyresoles set the trend by gearing up to the changing customer expectations well before time.
“How well are we connected to our customers, how frequently are we engaging them and how strong is our relationship with them decides our market leadership,” Karun Sanghi, Managing Director, Tyresoles, says.
Like any other successful organisation, the most unique strength of Tyresoles has been its people. While it is difficult to attract talent to an industry like retreading, the company understands the importance of training and retaining internal talents and grooming them along its organisational culture and value system. Today the 500-plus committed employees are the biggest asset of the company.
Rajesh V Shetty, CEO, says: “Our 300 plus Service Partners are our pillars of strength. Some of them are with us since generations and now the third generation has taken charge in few cases. We run an elaborate Service Partner Management System wherein we work closely with each of them to ensure their success.”
Unlike a typical retreading set up run by individuals at a small geographical area retreading less than 500 tyres per month, Tyresoles set up factories upto 5000 tyres/month capacity and covers large geographical area upto 500 km radius. These production facilities are backed by a robust team of sales staff and service partners supported by well planned logistic network.
In mid 80s Tyresoles was among the few who advocated and encouraged Pre Cured Process against conventional process. Today conventional process in truck, bus and Light Commercial Vehicle segments have almost become extinct.
Two decades ago, the company’s Silvassa unit became the first retreading plant in India to be certified under ISO 9001 by DNV. Tyresoles emphasises on process quality systems in all the plants that records, reviews and most importantly revises processes through continuous improvement projects.
In late 90s Tyresoles realised the need for a good ERP system and established it across the locations. Today it enjoys the dividends of a real time information flow that ensures timely decisions and increased efficiency.
In early 2000 Tyresoles’ revolutionary prepaid scheme was the most popular among our customers. This also shattered the myth that customers do not pay for retreaders on time. The company had around 200 plus big fleet accounts who repeatedly paid in advance for their bulk of 100 tyres which was unheard-of in the industry then.
In mid 2000 Tyresoles installed world renowned REMA TIP TOP German repairs technology for radial and tubeless tyre repairs. Along the same time it also introduced six segmented Radial moulds for various Radial OTR tyres. This was the time when Indian mining industry was witnessing tyre supply crunch & lack of repairs facilities for their imported radial tyres.
Sanghi says: “We always wanted to acquire in-house capability of developing customised tread compounds. This was needed mainly to cater varied demand by our customers depending upon their operations. We entered the tread manufacturing space through JV in 2014. Today, we have the in-house expertise to develop application specific formulations that most retreaders do not possess.”
Tyresoles services go beyond retreading. The company treats retreading as service and not commodity. It believes in long term relationship with customers and help them to reduce their tyre costs. Free value-added services such as vehicle inspection, scrap tyre analysis and mileage feed back has enabled its customers to take timely decisions on tyre maintenance, purchases and inventory. Lowest failure rate has resulted in reducing their vehicle down time costs too.
The latest addition to its uniqueness and industry leading initiative is Tyresoles App. Launched recently among selective customers, this will eventually be available to all clients and take them through a whole new experience of retreading in digital era. They can place request, track their tyres, see their current and historical transactions, know about services, give instant feedback – all just at one click.
Over the last four decades, ever since Sah & Sanghi took over, Tyresoles has come a long way. After going through different phases of consolidation, setting up greenfield factories, acquiring sick units and forming JVs , Tyresoles has been slowly but steadily extending its service network across India.
Customer connect key to success
Tyresoles firmly believes in being directly connected with its customers. The company continuously tries to engage them through value-added services and partner with them to bring down their tyre cost. This calls for a huge amount of time to be spent at various levels to understand their operations and needs. The sales staff and service partners interact regularly with customers and offer them the best solutions in terms of recommending appropriate patterns, tyre care measures.
Application specific treads
Performance of any tyre largely depends on using the tyres with right tread patterns and tread formulations. Tyresoles has the in-house capability of developing various patterns and formulations based on market demand. It takes anywhere between six months to one year to develop new tread patterns and formulations.
The company keeps an eye on new sizes that are becoming popular in the market. It also studies their operations in terms of the terrains, load and leads. Based on the inputs from technical staff it develops moulds and matrices through vendors.
Tyresoles develops compounds that have different levels of resistance to cuts, heat and wear. It studies on-field performances on a sample size for a particular period of time. Based on the feedback it finetunes the pattern and compound before launching it in the market. Tyresoles has successfully developed patterns and formulations for port operations, iron ore & limestone mines, truck & bus radials as well as various tractor sizes.
A journey with customers
Retreadability of a tyre depends on several factors. The very profile of the tyre determines the strength of the casing. A new tyre with better ply rating, wider crown and better formulation and tread pattern can withstand various service hazards & last longer. A budget tyre on the other hand may not even last its first life cycle and meant for use and throw.
Today, if we consider an average truck or bus bias ply tyre, around 30% of the tyres are rejected as non retreadable. If we consider radial tyres in the same category around 40% of the tyres get damaged beyond retreadability. In case of budget tyres upto 80% of the tyres won’t make it to even first retreading. Premature failures of tyres have severely dented the interests of individual fleet owners as well as retreading industry.
The Changing scenario: Roads become better
Bad narrow asphalt roads are now becoming wider concrete roads across the country. This causes less damages to the tyres. However, good roads lead to greater speed and faster wear. This has to be addressed by better heat and wear resistant patterns and compounds.
Single axle vs multi axle
Conventional rigid body single axle vehicles are slowly being replaced by modern articulated multi axle vehicles. This ensures better disbursement of loads and greater traction.
Bias ply tyres vs radial tyres
Radial tyres are far superior to bias ply tyres in terms of traction, mileage and fuel efficiency. At the same time they are too sensitive to withstand abuses.
Check on over-loading
New transport regulations on overloading has put a break on tyre abuses to a very great extent along with over load tyres are over inflated which eventually lead to tyre burst.
Tyre maintenance gains momentum
Tyre maintenance was the most ignored part in the past but not any more. Owners understand the cost of poor maintenance and thereby taking personal interest in setting up proper infrastructure and manpower.
As a retreading service provider this is where our role becomes vital as a partner of our customer in saving tyre cost.
We inspect their tyres in the vehicles & recommend timely rotation or removal. This will help even wearing and prevention from over use. Tyresoles recommends proper air pressure and highlight center-wear or shoulder-wear due to over inflation or under inflation. The company suggests right profile of tyres for various positions, terrains and applications. It analyses the premature failures of the tyres at each project and jointly discuss action plans to minimise the same.
It’s all about people
“Our employees are our biggest assets. A fully committed group of 500 employees along with 300 service partners and around 200 people in logistics, we are a formidable team of 1000 people,” Karun Sanghi says. “We believe in sharing challenges and success at all times. We provide forums for interactions and try to capture the voices of each employees.”
Daily factory floor meetings, popularly known as daily Baithak, is an opportunity for production staff to come together and share information and suggestions. Rewards and recognitions too happen from time to time on various occasions like factory days, annual sales conferences, special gatherings.
Family gettogether during annual factory days witness lots of festivities and elaborate events. Celebrating successes, birthdays are also regular features.
Conducting in-house trainings by mentors in different functional areas are highly effective. In-house projects on continuous improvements by various teams have brought tremendous sense of ownership among employees and resulted in huge cost savings.
In an industry where it is difficult to attract talents, it becomes all the more important to train and retain people and groom them in the company’s value system and make them success partners.
Reaching out, expanding service network
Retreading in India is essentially a service unlike in other countries where retreaders buy bulk tyre casings, retread and sell. Tyresoles retreads customer’s tyres multiple times and there is commitment on a delivery period. Accordingly the customer can plan for his tyre inventory and tyre replacements.
Tyresoles has set up larger factories and caters to a vast geographical area of anywhere between 200 to 500 km radius. It has gone through different phases of consolidation and expansion. Today Tyresoles has five retreading factories covering all of southern and western states as well as central India.
Belgaum factory is the largest retreading plant in India and retreads a wide range of tyres, starting from passenger car to large earthmoving tyres. It has dedicated plants for truck bias ply tyres, LCV tyres, Tractor tyres, OTR tyres & radial truck & bus tyres.
This state-of-the-art facility has cutting edge technology of segmented radial moulds to retread OTR Tyres. It has also installed World renowned REMA TIP TOP German technology for tubeless radial tyre repairs.
This ISO Certified plant emphasises continuous improvements in processes & systems, continuous training to upgrade skill sets of employees has enabled Belgaum factory to deliver the best quality retreads & help other locations to stabilise.
The Jabalpur factory covers Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh states. It has a range of truck, LCV, Tractor & smaller OTR sizes. This was Tyresoles’ first JV to enter central India. The new plant commissioned in 2012 can retread 5000 truck equivalents per month.
The Ahmedabad factory covers the entire state of Gujarat. Besides Truck & LCV, this plant has added Tractor & OTR tyres to its portfolio. Established in 2014, this plant can retread 60000 tyres per annum.
The Hyderabad factory set up in 2013 and mainly focuses on Truck, Bus & LCV tyres. This plant has an installed capacity of retreading 2500 tyres in a month. It covers the whole of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.
Latest to its growing network of factories Tyresoles has added its 5th retreading factory at Erode, Tamil Nadu. The state of the art production facility was commissioned in a record time span of 60 days. The factory was inaugurated on August 5, 2016.
An initial production capacity of 30000 truck tyres per annum will be doubled in the next six months. Strategically located at Erode, this plant will be able to cater to entire Tamil Nadu through a large network of service partners and logistics arrangements.
“All put together, we retread around 25000 trucktyre equivalent per month with a consumption of around 3.6 million kgs of tread compound/year, says Sanghi. “Further on, to establish control over the quality, rubber formulations and innovative tread patterns and designs, Tyresoles entered into a strategic alliance in 2013 by forming a Joint Venture with Mangalore-based Manjunath Rubber Industries in Karnataka.”
With an area covering 10,000 square feet, and an installed capacity of manufacturing 200 tonnes of tread rubber per month, the JV Company Manjunath Tyresoles Treads Pvt. Ltd. will be focusing on developing tread rubber formulations for achieving the desired quality at most economical prices, also keeping in mind our customers’ needs.
The company has plans to upgrade this facility to 500 tones /month capacity by 2020.
Besides the factories Tyresoles has also setup sales branches in Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Surat. It also covers north and eastern parts of the country through its Service partners based in Udaipur and Vijaywada
Sanghi said: “Going forward, we also have plans to join hands with aspiring existing retreaders of northen & eastern India and make them our success partners so that our service network covers the entire country.”