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.

Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

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.”

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