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Goodyear Launches FleetOnlineSolutions™

22-10-2003Product group: Truck/Bus  
Goodyear, the world's largest tyre producer, is launching a unique tyre management system to provide the fastest and best possible service to truck and bus fleet operators across Europe. The system, called FleetOnlineSolutions™, utilises the Internet and ensures that operators receive agreed levels of service and pricing anywhere in Europe whilst minimising vehicle downtime. A further benefit is that it provides operators with on-line reports and full operational visibility. This is part of a major campaign of new product launches by Goodyear related to truck and bus tyres aimed specifically at the fleet market. Developed in conjunction with software development company SAP and using the Goodyear's central server, FleetOnlineSolutions™ (FOS) holds a database covering each contract-company's vehicles, locations, tyre policy, agreed terms and services covered. This means that a Goodyear service provider can almost instantly start work on a vehicle and complete the work to meet the customer's exact requirements despite that company being in another country with a different language. Payments are made automatically at agreed prices so there are no delays obtaining credits or agreeing prices. FOS can cover the full spectrum of tyre services including regrooving, retreading, breakdowns, customers' own tyre stock management and the supply of other brands if required. "We've recently studied the European market and surveyed over 1,000 fleet operators in more than 10 countries to find out what the customer really wants." said Henry Johnson, Managing Director for Goodyear's European truck tyre operations. "Reliability, good service and low costs are not surprisingly top of the list but fleets that operate in several countries do not always find the consistency in service and pricing that they expect. Delays in the paper work, typically, can also increase vehicle downtime unnecessarily. The theory as to providing a solution is relatively easy: contracts, agreeing the level of service and pricing, are nothing new but sometimes it was difficult with different languages, payment methods and currencies in particular and this is what we have overcome. Pan-European tire management programmes are not new but the approach we have taken certainly is. Using the Internet and a single system, which integrates invoicing, overcomes language differences and gives the customer access to reports is the approach we have taken. Quite simply, FleetOnlineSolutions™ ensures the same level of service and pricing your friendly local tire dealer gives you, wherever you are in Europe."

Background

The blueprint for FleetOnlineSolutions™ was first drawn up in September 2002 and completed in November, when the realisation stage commenced. Four software houses were approached and given the specification to tender for the project. German-based SAP, which has had a long involvement with Goodyear, won the contract to develop FOS and work started immediately. Testing and validation commenced in April of this year and the prototype was signed off in May, when the finalisation of the pan-European settings was made. In August, the pilot trials started in the UK; three fleets were initially chosen - Lex Transfleet on its Amtrak operation in Cannock, Exel Special Products division on its Rank Hovis contract in Southampton and bus operator Thamesdown in Swindon. In September, the trials were widened and the pan-European pilot started with Netherlands-based Ewals, operating in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic and Sweden. From October, FOS will be launched according to fleet demand, across Europe.

How it works

Customers, TruckForce tyre dealers, Goodyear retreaders and the Serviceline 24h breakdown service network all have Internet access to the central FleetOnlineSolutions™ server, where details of all customer contracts are held. When the service provider is requested to do work by the customer, that customer's details are logged-in to the system and the terms and specification of the contract can be seen on screen in the language required. The job is then completed according to the contract specification and customer's tire policy. A series of illustrated screens help the workshop to complete the work to the customer's exact requirements (including items such as wheel nut torques and tyre pressures). When the job is completed, the customer is invoiced at the contract price in the currency chosen and the workshop paid accordingly. The records are updated and the customer can see that his job has been completed.

Contracts

FleetOnlineSolutions™ is available to virtually any truck or bus fleet operator. The basis is the contract, which is tailor-made for each customer. It will typically identify each vehicle (including trailers) and show what tyre, identified by its individual serial number, is fitted to each axle position, the tyre pressures, recorded tread depths and replacement tread depth policy. It would typically also show which tyres can be regrooved, those that can be retreaded and list tyres that the customer may hold in stock. It will further tell the service provider what tyres to fit in each position in the case of a replacement being required. A pricing matrix covers all services provided under the contract and once the service provider has 'signed-off' the job on screen, the customer is invoiced at base, at the contract price and terms (e.g. weekly, monthly or per mile) in his chosen currency. Likewise, the service provider is paid. Goodyear is also working with vehicle manufacturers to enable them to broaden their own contracts, particularly in the contract hire business. Currently, talks are underway with two of Europe's major truck manufacturers that, it is hoped, will lead to FleetOnlineSolutions™ being an integral part of their contract hire agreements. "We see manufacturers integrating FleetOnlineSolutions™ into their contracts as a natural progression", said Henry Johnson. "They are the experts on trucks and we are the experts on tyres. For their vehicles, customers want guaranteed costs, in 'per mile' terms, with minimal downtime for maintenance and repair. Working together with the truck or bus manufacturer we can provide this." Serviceline 24h is a complementary component of FleetOnlineSolutions™. It utilises the existing Goodyear Serviceline 24h network of approximately 6,500 contracted dealers which are coordinated via a central, multi-lingual call centre in Belgium. If a contracted vehicle should experience a tire problem, the driver contacts Serviceline 24h direct by telephone in his or her own language. Serviceline 24h then marks the location of the vehicle on a mapping system, which automatically identifies the nearest service provider who is contacted. This process is monitored via an automated system. FleetOnlineSolutions™ demonstrates Goodyear's commitment to providing the leading product and service package to European fleet operators, fully supported by its TruckForce network.

About Goodyear

Goodyear is the world's largest tyre company. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, the company manufactures tyres, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 28 countries. It has marketing operations in almost every country around the world. Goodyear employs more than 90,000 people worldwide. For more information about the company visitwww.Goodyear.co.ukon the Internet.