Michelin gets Focus on Excellence nod
The Michelin Tyre Company South Africa has been nominated for a Focus on Excellence Award, sponsored by Wesbank, in the Best Tyre category for the third year running – an achievement that highlights the company’s sustained high levels of customer satisfaction. The much-anticipated 2010 Focus on Excellence Awards ceremony will be held on 9 November in Broadacres, Gauteng, and Michelin has the competition chewing their nails.
After more than a century of representation in the global tyre market, Michelin now also has a major presence in the local South African market. The rotund, doe-eyed Michelin character, Bibendum (the Michelin Man), has been a familiar and, indeed, iconic face in this region for well over half a century. With the formation of the Michelin Tyre Company South Africa in 1998, it’s unlikely Bibendum will be taking his pension any time soon. The Michelin Tyre Company South Africa has enjoyed exponential growth since 1998 across all its product lines, which include tyres for passenger, truck, earthmover, agricultural and two-wheel vehicles.
The Michelin Group, with a global tyre market share of more than 16%, currently boasts marketing operations in more than 170 countries, with production facilities in 19 of these countries. The company has an unrivalled technological record of accomplishment that has played a pivotal role in its almost ubiquitous market influence. The Michelin Group’s preoccupation with technology has led the company to invest substantial portions of its annual turnover in research and development. Michelin currently employs more than 6 000 people in research and development, which is carried out on three continents, in several different countries. Furthermore, Michelin tests the technology resulting from this research in high-profile motorsports events, which provide an extreme real-world laboratory for Michelin products.
Michelin was recognised as a pioneer in transport engineering as far back as 1891, when it first filed patents for detachable tyres. Subsequently, Michelin has been responsible for, amongst numerous other innovations, the first vehicle fitted with pneumatic tyres, the twin tyre arrangement for trucks, the first low-pressure passenger tyre, the groundbreaking radial tyre design, the tubeless steel-braced radial truck tyre with a one-piece wheel, various low profile tubeless truck and light truck tyres and, more recently, anti-splash tyre technology and the Michelin Energy Saver tyre.
In 1960, the invention of the first tubeless steel-braced radial truck tyre, together with a one-piece wheel, achieved a significant saving in unsprung weight. From one percent of the market in 1965, tubeless penetration grew to 75% in 1987. The subsequent development of low profile truck tyres from 1967 onward created space within the wheel rim for improved brake cooling, an important feature as permitted weights and average speeds continue to increase. The Michelin Group received the prestigious Elmer A. Sperry Award in 1978 for its development of the radial tyre, and Michelin tyre designers continue to seek ways of improving the overall performance of their tyres.
The Michelin Tyre Company South Africa brings state-of-the-art Michelin technology to the South African tyre market. This technology includes: the casing with the highest retreadability in South Africa, tyres with usable undertread that allows for regrooving, Recamic retread technology that achieves at least 80% of the original new tyre life and the new XDN2 Grip with patented “raindrop” sipe that reveals a new tread pattern after approximately two-thirds of its life. In addition, Michelin has developed specific tread patterns for Africa such as the XZ and XD All Roads.
Michelin’s unrelenting pursuit of advancements in mobility and the technology that facilitates these advancements should not, however, be taken to mean that the company pursues development to the exclusion of all other considerations. The Michelin Group’s modus operandi is inextricably linked with the company’s core values: respect for people, respect for customers, respect for shareholders, respect for the environment and respect for facts. These five values are indispensable to the company’s mission of fostering sustainable mobility and responsible transport development for the modern world. These values are, furthermore, interdependent and mutually sustaining.
Michelin’s programme for managing the potentially harmful environmental effects of the transport industry implements all of these values and is not limited to designing and manufacturing tyres that reduce carbon emissions. Although Michelin invests significantly in the development of tyres with lower rolling-resistance and reduced fuel consumption, it also reduces the environmental impact of its tyres during their production and end-of-life phases by means of its Environmental Management System and ISO14001 certification policy, and conducts efficient product recycling processes.
Michelin’s respect for customers, meanwhile, is even more clearly displayed in its exemplary customer service. Michelin employs teams of specialists who provide training and professional assistance to various stakeholders in the transport industry. The Michelin sales force, for example, is able to provide relevant technical and commercial advice to a broad spectrum of businesses. They conduct analyses that take into account conditions of use, choice of treads and sizes, pressure levels and optimising of casing life. In addition, Michelin’s technical experts are available to resolve even the most complex problems. They carry out fleet checks, performance monitoring, costing and ensure that end users get both optimised performance and fuel consumption. Tyre dealers also receive comprehensive training. In addition, the Michelin Tyre Company South Africa launched a fully equipped service van in 2007 to provide a value added service to its customers.
“The advice and service offered are just as important as the quality of the tyre products. They contribute to the performance of the tyre itself, to help the end user obtain the best cost per kilometre and to improve the competitiveness of their business,” comments Alexandre Hennion, marketing director of Michelin Tyre Company South Africa.
Michelin’s commitment to service, technological innovation and sustainable economic development are abundantly evident. It is clear that the Michelin Tyre Company South Africa is a strong contender for a 2010 Focus on Excellence award.