When Appalachian Tire owner Walter Dial asked his daughter to come to work for his company in 1997, she had only one stipulation: she wanted her father to set a generous technology budget.
“I don’t think my father had any idea what that meant,” said Jennifer Dial. But Jennifer certainly did. She wanted to help her father modernize his tire dealership using the latest in technology to help employees become more productive and more responsive to customer needs. Since then, Jennifer has made it a point to help Charleston, W.V.-based Appalachian Tire adopt new technology and use it to its full capabilities in nearly every part of the company’s operation.
“We now have all of our stores networked,” said Jennifer, who became company president in 2003. “We also have a training center where employees can learn our computer system. There are camera systems in all of our stores and GPS units in our service trucks to help us monitor our business operations.
“We try to help customers make full use of the GTRACS automated retread tracking system, TVTRACK (Goodyear’s tire tracking program) and the online information system available with fleetHQ,” she added. “These tools allow our customers to review roadside service histories and retread statistics so they can better understand the total costs of their tire programs.”
Appalachian Tire’s state-of-the-art retread plant, which produces about 150 truck tires per day using the precure and Goodyear UniCircle methods, was also modernized with retreading systems that closely monitor quality during production.
Appalachian Tire’s dedication to quality and to improving customer service through technology is part of the reason it has earned designation as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s May commercial tire dealer of the month. Appalachian Tire opened its doors in 1948 as a Goodyear dealership in Lewisburg, W.V. Walter Dial, the company’s CEO, joined the company in 1959. The company has since grown to 23 locations in six states and a retread plant.
Each month, Goodyear honors its top dealers that provide outstanding service for commercial fleet customers. The Dealer of the Month award recognizes Appalachian Tire for helping fleets solve problems through fleetHQ’s portfolio of business solutions. That includes helping them choose from Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly tires, delivering outstanding service and providing information solutions that help them make better business decisions. Appalachian also takes full advantage of Goodyear’s training resources and tools for dealers.
“Our employees are the reason we succeed,” Jennifer said. “We have about 240 employees and about two dozen of them have been with us for more than 20 years. Having seasoned employees means our company can offer customers a great deal of knowledge and expertise. Couple that knowledge with the training available through the company’s own training center and through Goodyear, and it’s a powerful combination.”
Jennifer said the training resources that Goodyear offers through Goodyear University enhances the work that Appalachian employees do because it helps them stay knowledgeable about tires and tire services.
“When you’re talking about tires for heavy equipment, it’s essential to choose the right tire for the operating conditions,” she said. “Goodyear trains all of our sales associates on how to help customers make the right choices. Goodyear is constantly improving its product lineup with commercial tires using new and innovative compounds, such as DuraSeal Technology and Fuel Max Technology. That’s why it’s important for our employees to stay up to speed with how and when those new developments can help our customers,” she said.