Archive for January, 2010

How do you know how old a tire really is?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The recent decline in the US economy has affected us all as consumers in some way. Most products have increased in price, tires especially. When those prices increase, fewer products are being purchased by the consumer, meaning more product stays on the store shelf. When more products stay on the shelves, less is ordered from the manufacturer. The tire industry is not immune to this trend.  This leaves manufacturers with a large surplus of tires waiting to be sold. The overall time frame from when a tire rolls off the manufacturing line to when it is sold to a customer, until the end of its tread life has increased. No one knows how long the new time frame is. You could be selling or buying tires much older than you actually think. Just because you bought it does not mean it is new. In general, tires shouldn’t be run if they are more than 6 years old. But how do you know how old a tire really is?

All tires are equipped with a number from the Department of Transportation; its DOT code. Part of this DOT code includes the manufacturing date of the tire. Follow these simple steps below to ensure you are buying and selling tires still well within their life span.

  1. Find the Tire identification Number on the side of the tire. It begins with DOT and is 10-12 digits long.
  2. Make note of the last 4 digits of that number.
  3. Determine the year a tire was made by looking at the last 2 digits of that number. “07″ means the tire was manufactured in 2007. “08″ in 2008 and so on.
  4. Determine the week by looking at the two digits before the year. “32″ means the tire was manufactured the 32nd week of the year and so on.

Today’s tires have more technology in them than the first computers and TV’s. You wouldn’t buy a new TV that is 6 years old would you?

Making sense of Google Wave

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Google Wave is a self-described “personal communication and collaboration tool” announced by Google at the Google I/O conference on May 27, 2009. It is a web-based service, computing platform and communications protocol designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wikis and social networking. It has a strong collaborative and real-time focus supported by extensions which can provide spelling and grammar checking, automated translation among 40 languages along with numerous other features.

At the 2009 Web 2.0 Expo in New York City, Gina Trapani (author of the “Complete Wave Guide” and founder of lifehacker.com) gave an informative talk on the basics of Google Wave and how it may be used for team-based document collaboration. Here is a link to view Gina’s full 15 minute talk, “Making sense of Google Wave”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuBpIyHIbb4

SMART Goal Setting for the New Year

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Although change can occur at any time, the beginning of a new year offers a great starting point. As a business owner, you may have established some resolutions for your tire and automotive service company.  What would you like to see change this year? Is there anything you want to do differently? Are there any processes you want to change? What areas do you want to improve? Take time to reflect on the past year and write down exactly how you want 2010 to be different. Get a clear vision of this in your mind and establish concise goals which will achieve your desired end-state. Next, think of the steps you will need to take to make that a reality and develop a plan of action.  It is imperative to write everything down. Think of this as your blueprint.  A contractor may have a vision in mind of the home he is about to build, however he would not attempt to begin construction without first having the blueprint in hand. This action plan will be your blueprint for success. The power of a written vision and goals is enormous.  A common tool that may assist you in the framework for your goal development is the acronym SMART.

Goals should be:                    

  • S   Specific – Avoid being vague.
  • M Measurable – Quantify your goal with metrics.
  • A  Attainable – A goal needs to be within reach.
  • R  Realistic – A goal shouldn’t be easy, however you need to believe you can accomplish it.
  • T  Time-bound – Provide a timeline for when you expect to accomplish the goal.

Example of a SMART goal:  Generate a 20% increase in retail tire sales by the end of the 2nd quarter.

BLACK plus ORANGE equals GREEN

Friday, January 15th, 2010

tires-orange-green

I love working in the Tire Industry.  The ubiquitous products are a mainstay of modern civilization:  Everybody needs them; they have a lifecycle, and all the goods, services and travel that ride on tires make the world go round.

The downside of tires is environmental impact.  In the last decade the United States passed the 400 million mark for number of scrap tires sitting in heaps.  But the last 20 years have also seen innovative ways to recycle and reuse spent rubber.

At the turn of the recent century, markets existed for 78% of the scrap material available.  That number has climbed into the 80’s since then with new uses for used tires including highway noise barriers, flooring material and playground safety surfaces.  Ground tire material can now be used as an alternative to gravel in septic systems and landfill leachate systems.  Cement and paper industries can power their kilns and mills by combustion of scrap tires for waste-to-energy.

Now the game is changing to the point that old tires will be beneficial to have lying around with the introduction of a new tire line that replaces petroleum with oil derived from orange peels from Yokohama.

Black rubber + Orange peels = a Greener and cleaner Earth for all of us!

“The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance,” reports Dan King, Yokohama’s vice president of sales.

Kudos to Yokohama for innovating great products to help the planet without disrupting commerce and the pulse of our daily lives.  They are almost my favorite Tire Company now, only because “Hankook” is such a fun name to say.  Hankook!  There I said it and enjoyed it.  Try it sometime for fun.