Since Cruea began monitoring reports two years ago, he’s been able to make changes to tire management to help reduce costs. Some of the most important ones have been related to improved training for both equipment operators and tire maintenance personnel; providing the right tools; and focusing on jobsite conditions that are less harsh for tires.
It all seems to be working. With the help of the mine personnel and D & D Tire, Cruea has been able to implement changes that have reduced per-hour tire costs by 60% to 70%. “Tires are still one of our big spenders,” he says. “But they’re no longer an area of concern for us. Tire tracking software has helped us carve most of the waste out of our tire costs, and that’s what we were after.”
The kind of returns that Cruea has seen aren’t unusual, according to Britt Johnson, executive vice president at D & D Tire. He recalls another customer who started the program with per-hour tire costs of $2.57 and was able to reduce them to just $.73 per hour.
“That lower cost even factors in three full-time people on site to perform tire maintenance tasks, such as monitoring tread depth and air pressure,” he says. “Compare that to the previous tire company that did minimal maintenance, like pick up spare tires, change tires, etc.”
For this particular customer, reducing per-hour costs was the goal, Johnson explains. But the beauty of the software program is that it can analyze whatever parameters you deem important. “Everyone has his own definition of maximizing his operation,” he says. “For some, it’s extending tire life. For others, it’s minimizing downtime. The software captures the pertinent data needed for analysis to meet those individual tire goals.”
Steve Weakley, president of the commercial tire division at Antioch Tire in Illinois, also helps several of his customers manage their tire costs. He prefers Bridgestone/Firestone’s TreadStat program. “It’s such a valuable tool,” he says.
“The benefits are huge for customers and for us because it helps us determine what works best in different situations, so we know what to keep in inventory.
“Today, all businesses are focused on running as efficiently as possible. It’s difficult to stay profitable unless you run a tight ship, and to run a tight ship, you have to have facts. In the tire industry, it seems there’s more speculation than fact, as well as a lot of variables. By using tire tracking software, you can gather the facts that can help you determine the cost effectiveness of your tire purchases.”
The software enables you to easily track what you paid for a tire, what you got out of it and what you threw away. You can also track patterns.
“You can tell what machines may not be getting the full value out of their tires — and you can find out why,” Weakley points out. “If you try to do all this without some sort of tracking program, you can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels. But with TreadStat, you can stay focused on your goal to understand the different job and equipment demands to properly recommend the best tires for equipment performance, as well as determine which ones are most cost effective.”