Supply shortages of any kind interfere with your normal business processes, inflating prices and disrupting the flow of inventory. When your business depends on rubber hitting the pavement, nothing can bring you to a screeching halt faster than a tire supply shortage.
While you can’t control the number of tires available on the market, there are things you can do to overcome tire supply shortage and minimize the impact it has on your fleet.
Understand Why Tires Are In Short Supply
If a tire shortage causes you to cancel or alter arrangements with your client base, you’d better have a good explanation ready. Patiently walking your customer through the reality of supply and demand can be crucial to prevent the perception that you’re making excuses, and may help you maintain valuable relationships.
Tire shortages are caused when there is a rubber shortage, shipping difficulties, or increased demand in the tire market. Interruptions in the cultivation of rubber trees can lead to a long-lasting decrease in supply. As nations develop, the demand for tires may increase. The availability of shipping containers or other materials can also decrease the number of tires available for purchase.
When fewer tires are available, the overall supply of vehicles also decreases, posing a significant challenge to fleet owners who need a reliable stable to conduct their business.
In a shortage, there’s no such thing as ordering too early. Vehicles that usually take six to eight weeks to acquire can take six months or longer during a shortage. Evaluate your fleet and identify the vehicles that are likely to need major repairs soon, and plan to replace them with newer, lower mileage vehicles. This strategy, which is known as a life-cycle strategy, will help you keep your fleet on the road and your monthly maintenance costs fairly steady.
Preserve Existing Tires
Decreasing the effect of a tire shortage on your fleet means taking good care of the tires you already have.
The first step is to institute a tire rotation schedule. Regular rotation of tires ensures that they wear evenly, and have treads of similar heights. Tire life is reduced when you run a vehicle with different sized tires on the same axel.
The other crucial part of keeping your fleet’s tires in good condition is avoiding underinflation. Severe underinflation is known to contribute to tire failure, a safety issue that all drivers and fleet personnel are keen to avoid. Even a slightly underinflated tire will wear out more quickly than a properly inflated tire, and yet checking tire inflation often falls off the list.
A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can be installed directly on the vehicle, sending data back to a centralized source in real-time. A TPMS can be mounted on the tire itself, on the rim, or on the valve.
An alternative to installing TPMS on every vehicle in the fleet is the purchase of a single-station automated tire inspection system. Rather than tedious manual checks, an automated tire inspection system merely requires the driver to position the vehicle over the sensor plate. The tread and pressure are automatically measured and stored, providing valuable data that can be used to optimize your maintenance schedule.
Consider a Fleet Partner
Navigating fleet ownership is difficult enough when you’re not trying to overcome a tire supply shortage. Let Efficiency be your partner. As an expert advisor with industry connections, Efficiency can be a valuable resource to your business. We just might give you the boost you need to stay ahead of your competitors. Contact us today to discuss the right fit for your business.