Bringing down driving costs
Continental is investing substantially into highest technology to be best-in-class in mileage, rolling resistance and retreadibility and thus leading in LODC (lowest overall driving cost)
Patrick Haarmann, who took charge as Head of Business Region Asia Pacific (APAC) Truck Tire at Continental this March, targets to become the lowest overall driving cost solution provider to truck tyre buyers in the region.
“Our vision is to offer to our truck tyre customers in the Asia Pacific the ‘lowest overall driving cost’ and we aim to be the preferred solution provider for them,” Patrick Haarmann told Tyre Asia in an exclusive interview.
“Our way to a full solution provider is based on top product performance and premium services throughout the whole life cycle of a tyre,” he said.
To continuously achieve top product performance, Continental is investing substantially into highest technology to be best-in-class in mileage, rolling resistance and retreadibility and thus leading in LODC (lowest overall driving cost).
To provide the best solutions for its customers, the company has added a new field of products with the launching of ContiPressureCheck, a sensor inside the tyre which continuously monitors air pressure and tyre temperature.
“This is the first step of intelligent technology solutions we are developing on the route to a full service provider. With our excellent products, we aim to become for our customers the most value-creating and reliable partner in the APAC region,” Haarmann said.
The APAC region is seen a major tyre manufacturing base by international tyre companies because of its lower production cost, sufficient availability of raw materials and surging local demand.
In order to achieve its target of a balanced global footprint, growth in Asia and growth in India is one of the key components in the company’s business strategy. “As of today, we have equipped our team with all it needs in terms of offering local and tailor-made premium solutions to our customers. This means we set the base in the long run to establish Continental as a leading supplier in the Indian market, thus enabling our customers to achieve lowest overall driving costs for their fleets,” says Haarmann.
“We will continue to pursue a strategy of fostering direct-to-fleet business, including services like Conti360°, and our latest digital solution, the ContiPressureCheck,” he added.
Today, Continental is a forerunner in research and development, and to understand the industries, the company is in continuously evolving according to the needs of consumers as well as the advancement of technology.
“As a technology company, we are making ground-breaking contributions in this respect with our cutting-edge technologies comprising electronics, sensor technology, and software but still maintaining our stand as a premium tyre manufacturer. We are therefore constantly growing faster than the market. In the process, our products, which include our conveyor belts from ContiTech and our premium tyre, are becoming more intelligent throughout all areas of mobility.
“When we say our products are more intelligent, we mean they use integrated sensors and chips to deliver critical data relating to safety, energy consumption, transport, and service requirements,” explains Haarmann.
Continental has continuously invested in the past decade to ensure that it is constantly able to push the envelope where advancement in technology for its products and services are concerned.
“In India for example, Continental has a plant in Modipuram producing both truck tyres and Passenger Car tyres. For our automotive divisions, headquartered in Bangalore, as well as ContiTech, we have four manufacturing plants in India: in Bangalore, in Manesar and in Pune, catering to the automotive hubs of the country. With a customer base spanning all major local and global OEMs and over 1700 employees in the Automotive Group in India, Continental continues to grow significantly, year on year,” says Haarmann.
Continental has a systematic way of addressing and resolving challenges in daily business. The knowledge and experience that spreads across their 208,000 people strong global network of employees means that tackling a challenge is always a team effort, according to Haarmann.
“Our employees are empowered to create value for our organization – in everything they do at work. With this in mind, they should be able to work as independently and intuitively as possible to generate added value,” says Haarmann.
For Continental, there is a global standard, which is coined by the countries with strong legislation in terms of environmental protection.
“As a result, we apply the same high standards in all countries that we operate in, even though the local laws may not demand it. When we look at the protection of the environment, then we have to look at the entire process, from sourcing to usage to disposal,” says Haarmann.
Retreading truck tyres is not only an economical step for a fleet operator, it is also a step to minimize environmental impact as one makes the most out of the material in a tyre. “This is why we see retreadability as an important feature and key criterion for the development of new tyres: They have to be able to support a second and third life,” adds Haarmann.
Today the biggest challenge that the entire tyre industry is facing are the low priced Chinese imported tyres, which are being offered at dumping price and these tyres are putting an immense pressure on the pricing in the truck and bus tyre segment by flooding the market, thinks Haarmann.
“ At Continental, we follow high production and quality standards, making our tyres premium and quality driven. In response to such a challenge we have drawn a customer centric approach by working towards understanding our customers’ operations in depth and developing tyres which fulfil their expectations and provide the lowest overall driving cost,” says Haarmann.
For the Indian market, Continental is regularly investing into our premium truck and bus radial range as well as bias tyres. In India, Continental’s immediate focus is to establish strong relations with the fleets by providing them with value-based solutions for their operations.
“With our customer-centric approach, we are regularly monitoring the operations of the end-users to understand their applications and needs with the goal to enable our customers to achieve lowest overall driving costs for their fleets. The Indian government has announced many highway projects in the recent times and we foresee significantly improved infrastructure. We are constantly updating our product portfolio to be abreast with these market trends,” says Haarmann.