For TireHub, the road to success is paved with positivity
“If you want to offer world class service to customers you have to be approachable, you have to have a sense of adventure, you have to want to make things happen, and you can't give up.” That’s how Peter Gibbons, CEO of TireHub, sums up what it’s like to launch a new company in an intensely competitive space chock-full of legacy players—and keep it steady on its feet during a global pandemic.
A joint venture between legendary manufacturers Goodyear and Bridgestone, TireHub is revolutionizing last mile tire distribution with a unique approach to speed, accuracy, and availability. Established in July 2018, the Atlanta-based enterprise operates 70 distribution centers around the country, designed to supply tire dealers and retailers with an exhaustive range of passenger and light truck tires from Bridgestone, Goodyear, and Toyo, and select commercial tires from Goodyear. “Our mission is to distribute the highest quality products possible to our customers so that their customers—drivers—will love their tires,” Gibbons stressed.
TireHub serves tire replacement operations from small, independent dealers to wholesale clubs and retailers such as Discount Tire. “Tire dealers are looking for reliability and confidence that when they make a commitment to have the right tires available, they are trusting us to never let them down. They're trusting us to have the entire product range of Goodyear, Bridgestone, and Toyo products available, and they want a frictionless experience,” he added. “They want us to be quick and be able to deliver multiple times a day.”
Dealers also look for a distributor who understands complex incentive programs and can help communicate them clearly and help with execution, and for a true partner who will help them grow their business. TireHub’s dedicated technology team is at the center of the action. “They're focused on the buying experience, on communicating information to our dealers on delivery status, on implementing new and novel ways of managing payments, and they're working with great partners and vendors in the technology space who have fabulous products to help us run our business more effectively,” Gibbons said.
“The tire business is much more complicated than it used to be because auto manufacturers help decide the best tire for a particular model, and that means more choice and many more products” he noted. “Our job is to make sure that we provide a full product range for our shareholders so that the dealer can make good choices.”
Success is all about the Hubbers
TireHub was created as a growth company. “That’s a big part of who we are,” Gibbons revealed. “It's making sure that we can take a really strong position in the market and represent our brands and our shareholders well. At the core of that growth has been our people, the Hubbers.”
There are roughly 1,400 Hubbers across the country. “We've worked very hard to ensure that there's an energy level and a passion for what we're doing. Our Hubbers have been nothing short of remarkable since day one,” he said.
“Every obstacle that we've come up against our Hubbers find a way to get through it and keep focusing on winning more customers, winning more share, and growing our business. We were formed to do something different in the market, and to help our shareholders be even more successful by having a great distribution partner that's passionate about service, passionate about dealers, and passionate about the drivers that want good products on their cars. … We want each one of our dealers to recognize us as a service machine that wants to give them fabulous service. That comes from our people and the energy level that they bring.”
The company’s core ethos is built on a deceptively simple concept: Say yes. That positivity drives creativity from the top down. As Gibbons pointed out, “It's all about trying to help the person next to you, whether that's a customer or a colleague. We have other key words to describe how we want to be seen by each other as well as by our customers—be approachable, be adventurous, be speedy, be relentless. We put our people in an atmosphere of positive energy and encouragement, where they want to be part of something bigger than they are, part of something that is positive. As we try to do something different in the market, we want our people to feel able to express themselves, to speak up, and we believe that is good for our customers. It’s been good for us because we ask people to do a lot.”
At present, TireHub is implementing a new demand planning system, a new customer payment system, a new data warehouse, and they’re upgrading their B2B portal and web ordering system. “It’s a lot for a company to do all of these things at the same time. We can do that because our people are passionate about building this business.”
In taking on the challenge of building a new business in a crowded and fierce marketplace, TireHub is taking the high road in the way they stack up against their rivals. “We have huge admiration for our competitors and for other people in this space,” Gibbons said. “We don't have competition between multiple brands that some of our competitors may have. It's important to understand that we are not offering a dealer 30 different choices and getting caught in the complexity of how to manage all those differences. We’re here to make sure products are easily available, and the best technology provides the best interaction with customers so that customers and dealers have a great feeling about Bridgestone, Goodyear, and Toyo.”
Driving forward despite distress
Gibbons’ first priority when the pandemic hit was caring for the Hubber family. “When this struck we locked arms and said, ‘People are going to judge us on how we manage this crisis. We’ll be judged by our Hubbers and our customers.’ When they look back a year from now, or whenever it will be, we want them to think, ‘TireHub did the right thing.’ That's what's guided us.”
In addition to doing everything possible to ensure that their Hubbers were safe and cared for, leadership decided early on to maintain TireHub’s inventory levels. “It would have been easy to sell our inventory for cash, to hold the fort for another day, but we didn't do that,” Gibbons said.
“There are people whose livelihoods depend on us having product. We knew there were going to be fewer sales, but we didn't want a smaller dealer to miss a sale because we chose to cut inventory. That was a big decision for a young company without deep pockets. It was a tough decision, but it was the right one.” An earlier decision to hire 500 drivers proved to be a significant advantage as well. “We asked ourselves, ‘If we keep 70 centers open by looking after people and not making the easy short-term decision, could we be bold? Could we work our way through this?’ And that's what we did,” he said.
“When you see our Hubbers taking that opportunity to do something differently, saying yes, building the business around service, and helping our customers grow and be successful and then applying the same thing to each other and see it come together, it's a fantastic feeling,” Gibbons concluded. “In any business or industry you can do something new and you can do something special. We've seen that in TireHub. There's always a new and better way to do things. I am amazingly proud of our people, who with energy and passion show that you can move mountains and do amazing things.”
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, TireHub is a national tire distributor that provides U.S. tire dealers and retailers a comprehensive range of passenger and light truck tires from Bridgestone and Goodyear, as well as Goodyear and Kelly commercial tires, and select Toyo inventory. TireHub offers easy online ordering, a knowledgeable and customer-focused sales force, breadth and depth of premium products and a nationwide footprint of logistics centers and warehouses. Created for tire experts by tire experts, TireHub will distribute the highest quality product possible so its customers can put their customers on tires they’ll love.
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Atlanta, GA 30346
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