Ceat opens WMC

Tyre manufacturer Ceat Ltd has opened its first Wheel Management Centre (WMC) for truck and bus radial tyres at Sankagiri, near Namakkal in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 01 Jul 2009 Views icon14170 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Tyre manufacturer Ceat Ltd has opened its first Wheel Management Centre (WMC) for truck and bus radial tyres at Sankagiri, near Namakkal in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. The town, the company claims, has a business potential of 7,000 new tyres per month, of which 30 percent are radials. The Centre will be a one-stop-shop for truckers for buying new tyres and retreading. The company plans to open 20 such centres, typically spread over 3,000-5,000 square feet in the country by 2010.

The industrialised Sankagiri-Namakkal-Salem region has over 10,000 truckers with a growing percentage of them changing over to using radial tyres.

Speaking at the inauguration function, Arnab Banerjee, VP – sales and marketing, Ceat Ltd, said: “Tamil Nadu is a very competitive market for radial tyres and we are heartened to launch our first Wheel Management Centre here. The launch of this facility will help us to reach the masses and achieve our targets. We have started with a training centre for educating customers on new developments in trucking and wheel management and train them on various services including wheel alignment, greasing, TBR repair, nitrogen inflation, collection centre for retreading of tyres and other regular tyre services that are available in the WMC.”

At present, the company has two manufacturing facilities — at Bhandup in Mumbai and in Nashik, and a plant in Sri Lanka. It also exports tyres to around 110 countries. The company’s network comprises over 3,500 dealers, 33 regional offices and more than 100 carrying and forwarding agents.

Ceat also has a branded franchisee network called ‘Ceat Shoppe’, which are retail tyre outlets that provide comprehensive expertise in tyres and tyre services, all under one roof. The company has a dedicated customer service department, comprising customer service managers in all four divisional offices, assisted by 50 service engineers.

New radial tyre plant coming up in Halol

Ceat is also setting up a radial tyre plant at Halol in Gujarat. According to Banerjee, “We are going full throttle on expansion at the Halol plant despite the slowdown in the market. We see this as an opportunity because our project cost will be comparatively reasonable in a downturn. We have the funds lined up and would be battle-ready by the time the downturn ends. Meanwhile, the learning curve on the sales and marketing front is being scaled up. The Halol plant will be built on a modular basis and there is ample scope for quick ramp up of volumes in our quest for market share.”

Speaking about other market initiatives, he added: “Our existing plants in the country are implementing various QBM initiatives. This initiative is a driver for improvement in workflow, reduction in WIP, release of space, de-bottlenecking and capacity improvement through algorithm base planning. The QBM initiatives are transforming existing plants into completely new, more efficient and more productive plants. This QBM initiative is not only restricted to plants but is also extended to various functions like human resources, sales and marketing and customer service as well.”
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