What is a trucking operation’s third-largest capital expense, on average? "If you answered, 'Tires,' you are right on the money," said Jose Martinez, business solutions manager for Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems.
"Regardless of a fleet’s vocation, tires represent a tremendous investment," he said. "That’s why it’s important for fleets to track the performance of their tires, so they can get the most out of these mission-critical products."
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s Tire Trac online tire management tool, which is offered through the Goodyear-FleetHQ suite of business solutions, helps fleets monitor tire installations, the performance of tires on the road or in the field, reasons why tires were removed from service, and other key metrics. It also helps fleets identify tire maintenance opportunities.
"In addition, Tire Trac can be used to help fleets ensure they are using the best tire for their application by comparing performance data with similar fleets and competitive tires," said Martinez.
How Tire Trac works
Tire Trac data is gathered through fleet surveys that are conducted by trained tire technicians from authorized Goodyear commercial tire dealerships or Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers.
Technicians perform on-site tire inspections, measuring tire inflation levels, tread depth and other aspects of a tire's condition. The captured information is used to create customized reports that show how a fleet’s tires are performing.
"Tire Trac lets you zero in on a specific tire or look at all of the tires in your fleet in order to provide a holistic picture of how your tires are performing and how their performance is impacting your cost," noted Martinez.
"You can compare cost-per-mile from location to location and also identify systemic trends within your operation." For a tire management system to be effective, it has to track more than just tire installations and performance, he explained.
"A truly effective tire management system should have the ability to identify tire maintenance opportunities, as well. In some cases, if identified early enough, maintenance issues can be addressed and corrected, which will keep tires in operation.
"For instance, we’ve seen strong improvement in tire inflation level maintenance among fleets that have used Tire Trac," said Martinez. "By monitoring inflation levels over time, Tire Trac has enabled certain fleets to reduce the number of tires they’ve had to remove because of inflation-related problems."
RWI Transportation, a truckload carrier that offers a broad range of transportation services, has seen its bottom line increase thanks to Tire Trac, said Kenny Carpenter, RWI Transportation fleet maintenance manager.
The company, which is based in Wilder, Ky., and operates terminals all over the United States, began using Tire Trac a year-and-a-half ago.
Before using Tire Trac, RWI Transportation employed its own in-house tire tracking system that, while somewhat effective, did not track several key metrics.
"Knowing what tires were put on our trailers, what happened to those tires – we didn’t have a way to track any of that," said Carpenter. “We wanted to have all of that information at our fingertips."
It didn’t take long for RWI Transportation to get a better handle on its tire assets. A local Goodyear commercial tire dealership, Gem City Tire, began sending a technician to RWI’s Wilder hub twice a week to check inflation pressure, tread depth and other things. "
Gem City’s technician checks the tires on all of our trailers and enters the information into Tire Trac," said Carpenter.
From there, Gem City – or RWI Transportation itself – can download information and create customized reports, "based on what we want to look at," he explained. "Everything is run through Goodyear," which allows RWI Transportation to focus on its core business: moving freight.
Tire technicians from Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers perform similar tasks at other RWI Transportation locations. "They visit us at least once a week – sometimes more often," said Carpenter.
Over the last 18 months, Tire Trac has helped RWI Transportation save $40,000 in tire-related expenses, he reported.
"We’ve seen a significant decline in the number of tires in our fleet that need attention. One of our big goals right now is getting our costs down. Tire Trac is helping us do that."
Better business decisions
A Goodyear exclusive, Tire Trac is offered through the Goodyear-FleetHQ suite of business solutions.
"Tire Trac is one of many solutions we offer to help fleets optimize their tire investment," said Goodyear’s Martinez. "We want to help fleets of all sizes and vocations lower their operating costs. That’s what Tire Trac is all about."
There is no fee to use Tire Trac, he added.
"The old saying ‘Knowledge is power’ certainly applies to tire management. Tire Trac puts valuable, real-world information in the hands of fleet owners and managers, so they can make better business decisions."