Piedmont Truck Tires, a commercial vehicle service center, tire dealership, and retread facility in Graham, N.C., has been part of the ContiLifeCycle retread network with Continental since 2014. The business, which has 10 storefronts and one retread shop, was the first certified REMA OTR tire repair shop in North America.
Owner Dan Rice is pleased with the decision he made to switch from his previous retread provider to Continental. “[The ContiLifeCycle program] has a tremendous value proposition. They have extremely good, high-tech products,” he says. “And for us it was a matter of making money. We saw that we could take the value proposition and the high tech products at a fair price and we could turn that into more profitability for us. [So far it has been] absolutely, absolutely wonderful.”
One of the primary benefits for Dan is the exclusive geographic territory for retread manufacturing that comes with the ContiLifeCycle program. “Because I have an [exclusive] geographical area and Continental is spreading their [ContiLifeCycle] dealers out far enough, it leaves a lot of ability to hold your price and make money. There is some competition, but it’s not like everyone is in my market trying to drive my price down with the same exact products.” That leads to more profitability for his business.
Continental’s willingness to provide customized cooperation and problem solving was also a draw. CLC engineers helped Piedmont Truck Tires come up with a specialized retread process to service one Continental National Account whose casings presented challenges. “Most companies will not do that,” says Dan. In the end, the fleet brought profitable business to his shop, and the National Account received the superior service and product quality expected from a ContiLifeCycle partner.
Dan Rice feels like growth of the ContiLifeCycle program directly translates to growth for his own business. “We saw Continental as somebody who was wanting to grow [their retread business] and make the investments that were necessary to grow… Continental is aggressive, ‘cause they want to be bigger. And the downstream of that for us is that we’re going to grow because Continental grows.”
The ContiLifeCycle program allows Piedmont Truck Tires to offer a lot of value to their customers. “Being able to differentiate yourself with a premium product that is trying to expand…I think that’s huge. We can deliver cradle-to-the-grave and cost per mile that is extremely competitive. Not necessarily the lowest price per tire or the lowest initial cost, but probably the lowest operational cost,” owner Dan Rice says. And in terms of the program itself, “I think the exclusive manufacturing territory is a huge, huge deal. Because that in itself drives profitability. It leaves a lot of ability to make money, and you can freely operate.”
Piedmont Truck Tires is benefiting from its relationship with Continental, taking advantage of innovative digital solutions to improve their own business. “We installed [ContiPressureCheck] air monitoring systems on our own tractor trailers – we run super single tires, so air pressure is critical. One goes down, you’re down,” he explains. “We think [the ContiPressureCheck system is] excellent.”
They are also using Continental’s digital solutions to offer even more answers to customer challenges. “The new stuff they're coming out with, like the [ContiConnect] yard reader would be absolutely excellent for some of our customers. As a matter of fact, the Continental demo truck has been through here – Continental is supporting us by bringing their demo truck in with the [ContiConnect] yard reader. [Our customers] have shown a lot of interest so far.”
Dan Rice is looking forward to many years of partnership with Continental. “You’re willing to do whatever it takes, so that neither the customer nor us, [the ContiLifeCycle dealer], gets hurt,” he commends. “The flexibility and the way you’ve done business, you’ve done it in a very professional manner.” He also believes that Continental will continue to grow and stay on the cutting edge of tire technology. “People have recognized that Continental is technologically savvy. You’re somebody that is going to be a contender in the future to deliver a low cost per mile, because you have the systems [and digital solutions] to do it, not just the tires.”
Piedmont Truck Tires has been manufacturing retreads for at least 20 years. For the past three, they’ve been part of the ContiLifeCycle network, manufacturing ContiTread™ retreads with Continental. Owner Dan Rice is impressed with the quality of the tread designs and manufacturing supplies that are used in the ContiLifeCycle program. “I think the materials are absolutely excellent. [Continental] has done an excellent job of being able to make application-specific treads, and they're fine-tuning that as they go.”
In terms of the manufacturing process, Dan is especially impressed with Continental’s high-quality cushion gum, the material used to bond the tread onto the casing. “[Cushion gum is] one of the most critical components of retreading. And that in particular has been excellent. Cushion gum is the glue that holds it all together. If it's not of high quality and not excellent, then you're going to have issues.” Continental is committed to the highest quality materials, to ensure our retread tires look like new and run like new, delivering excellent performance and high removal miles.
Dan also praised the ContiTread™ tread rubber. The visual appearance of the treads “tells me that Continental’s control is excellent; their manufacturing control has to be superb. Continental has the little horse on the tread, which is amazing, because everybody else has buffed or tried to get rid of the overflow tips of the rubber,” he explains.
Dan has seen tread rubber from many different manufacturers over the years, and speaks highly of Continental’s quality. “Continental is just excellent. You can tell that they're making [the tread rubber] with high quality equipment. They made the investment to be able to produce great products.” Continental is also committed to continuing to expand capacity to produce more tread rubber, including building an additional production site for pre-cured tread (PCT) adjacent to the company’s existing Mount Vernon, Ill., tire manufacturing plant.
Dan Rice is pleased with his decision to join the ContiLifeCycle network. “Continental has the technology to continue to be on the cutting edge,” he explains. “If you include the new tires and the cradle-to-the-grave value proposition [for retread], that's hard to compete with. Overall, I think [the support from Continental for the ContiLifeCycle partners] is excellent. From the top down, it’s very good.”