WHAT’S DRIVING THE AUTO BUSINESS?
How does the vehicle repairs market stay on route to prosperity? Inside Franchise Business looks at the signposts for success.
Statistics and insights into the auto repairs market in Australia.
In an industry valued at an estimated $16.1 billion, much of the business is conducted through small scale and independent operators. Franchise brands loom large on the auto repairs highway, among them Bridgestone. The company’s Australia and New Zealand managing director Andrew Moffatt answered the Inside Franchise Business questionnaire...
Q: What's the key to staying competitive in the market?
AM: “There are a number of factors to staying competitive in the tyre and auto service market but the core of Bridgestone Select’s competitive edge is having a brand that people know and trust and building a strong network around Australia with more than 180 franchise stores.
“As a franchisor, Bridgestone Australia is constantly looking at new ways that our stores can meet the changing needs of motorists and continue to add new services to Bridgestone Select’s offerings. A prime example of this has been the introduction of Auto Service in recent years which benefits both the customer and our franchisees.
“The tyre and automotive service market is highly competitive and the majority of our Bridgestone Select stores have established nearby competitors, so staying competitive comes down to customer service, having access to the most desirable and trusted brands like Bridgestone and having friendly, passionate experts working in store to deliver the
superior service we pride ourselves on.”
Q: What does the business do to help franchisees stay profitable?
AM: “With any business there are many elements that impact profitability, including external factors and day-to-day management decisions. With this in mind, Bridgestone Australia does all it can in providing resources, structure, framework and support to our franchisees to help run their business.
“Bridgestone consults with its franchisees to discuss challenges they face so that we can support them as best as we can. We see our franchisees as our partners, so consultation with them is key to supporting their businesses effectively. We provide personalised support through our field team of franchise support executives, regional retail managers and automotive service advisors to guide franchisees on running their businesses in line with the Bridgestone Select model.
“Providing franchisees with the right business framework and processes is a core
way Bridgestone supports its franchise network and strongly encourages participation in our improvement programs, which are built on following best practice in all aspects of business operations. We have received great feedback from our franchisees on the framework for operating their stores.
“The introduction of our tyre and auto service model has translated to a range of new opportunities for franchisees and our customers.
As ‘Australia’s Most Trusted Tyre Brand’, motorists are drawn to Bridgestone and its stores for quality tyres, while the tyre and auto service model provides ancillary services and delivers a more comprehensive service for the customer. This has made Bridgestone Select a one-stop automotive solution.
“The support we give our franchisees also led to Bridgestone Select being named as a Top 10 franchise in Australia in the 2017 topfranchise awards, an annual survey completed by franchisees across a range of industries.”
Q: What will drive growth for Bridgestone over the next five years?
AM: “The next five years are exciting. Bridgestone’s product road map includes a number of exciting new products which will meet the changing demands of the market and features exclusive products for Bridgestone Select stores. Record car sales in Australia over the past three years present great opportunities for Bridgestone Select for Tyre and Auto Service.
“Other factors include innovative marketing concepts and more emphasis on our customer retention program, Bridgestone benefits, which is designed to offer services beyond just tyre replacement and encourages customers to commit to tyre maintenance and safety. This allows our stores to build a better rapport with customers and earn their trust over multiple visits rather than every few years when they are replacing tyres.
“Bridgestone Select has always used customer service as a foundation and being recognised with the Gold award for the Tyre Retailer category in last year’s Reader’s Digest Quality Service Awards highlights the importance our franchisees place on delivering a positive experience.”
Bridgestone consults with its Bridgestone Select franchisees to discuss challenges they face so that we can support them as best as we can.
Q: What are the big challenges for this market?
AM: “Some of the biggest challenges in our market are strong competition, responsible end-of-life tyre management and management of staff. However, all challenges create opportunities.
“Like many established industries there is strong competition in the tyre and automotive service sector, which continually lifts the standard of Bridgestone Select’s service. Having a strong trusted brand makes our franchisees stand out and allows our stores to focus on customer service while Bridgestone supports our stores with the right products to meet the needs of their customers. In the age of social media and online reviews, this is even more important because customers who do not have a positive experience are quick to post online. This is also an incredible opportunity because it creates brand advocates and we encourage our customers to provide feedback through post purchase surveys and service reviews.
“End-of-life tyre management is a major
The introduction of our Tyre and Auto Service model has translated to a range of new opportunities for Bridgestone Select franchisees and our customers.
concern for the industry and Bridgestone. We are proud to be members of Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) and all Bridgestone Select stores are TSA accredited. TSA is a body that promotes the development of viable markets for end-of-life tyres through funding research into new and innovative uses for recycled tyre product.
We also strongly encourage stores to use Australian Tyre Recyclers Association (ATRA) accredited tyre collectors to ensure end-oflife products are being handled responsibly.
“The final challenge for Bridgestone Select is one that nearly all business face: finding the right people for the job and staff retention. Being a part of the Bridgestone network is a major drawcard for our stores to attract staff but there is a challenge in keeping people in the industry.
Many underestimate the opportunities within the tyre and automotive industries and there are many examples within Bridgestone that highlights the career development prospects within the business and training pathways can start from tyre fitters.”