I am really impressed by some of the happenings in the industry. Though the global economy is still under severe strains because of Euro debt crisis, China slowdown, high inflation and political uncertainty, there are positive signs that lift the confidence level of the industry and take it forward to fight the new challenges. The good thing is that it’s happening around the world.
In a welcome initiative, Goodyear Chairman, CEO and President Richard Kramer at the company’s recent annual dealer conference in Orlando, Florida, shared with the 1,700 Goodyear dealers the finding of a detailed study they had done on the mega trends in the industry. “The study”, he said, “will help dealers understand and prepare better for the tyre environment over the next decade.” I feel all organisations can follow this good practice, extending it to all stakeholders. This will definitely promote better understanding and rapport.
Some of the mega trends Kramer highlighted are:
- Emerging markets are going to continue to drive the tyre industry.
- Mature markets like the US will continue to grow.
- Increasing shift towards high value-added tyres.
- Increasing role of the Internet in sales.
- The ‘go green’ trend
Another thing that fascinates me is the way China is handling their slowdown. Instead of getting panicky, they are taking it as an opportunity to streamline their operations. At a crowded rubber conference recently organised by the China Rubber Industry Association, I saw speaker after speaker emphasising that the time had come to restructure their businesses with the latest technology and best practices to make them globally competitive. Green tyres, eco-friendly manufacturing practices, energy saving solutions etc are all on their agenda. No wonder, China is evolving from ‘the manufacturer of the world’ status to ‘the market for the world’ beating all forecasts of doom in the process..
In fact, restructuring in difficult times pays. Most of the global tyre companies increased sales and profits in 2011 despite slowdown and crisis all around.
Yet another welcome trend is the way the prestigious India Rubber Expo is growing. The latest reports say it has fully sold out space for the 2013 show, an indication of how the global industry players are viewing the growth opportunities in India. While global companies are queuing up to enter India, many Indian rubber and tyre companies are going global. It’s good that, to tap the opportunities on the tyre front, the expo has added a tyre show also this year.
Looking at the developments and trends, one can be rest assured that the industry is on a safe drive, though the road is bumpy.