For Martin Depelteau, the key to success for suppliers resides in their ability to diversify both product catalogue and markets.
After a few years of market studies, Martin Depelteau purchased a small welding business specializing in the production of various supports, such as tire tracks.
“After completing my business studies, I was looking for a niche product, so I morphed the company into one specializing in tire storage equipment. We started off offering only a single product, which has now grown into a product catalogue complete with 120 types of equipment and devices. We are the world leader in tire storage equipment.”
The small business has grown into a thriving company employing over 250 people in Farnham, Quebec; in Memphis (its Tennessee distribution centre in the USA); in its Dubai sales office; and at its most recent addition, the Netherlands sales and distribution centre.
The market for tire industry equipment has undergone major changes over the years, explains Depelteau. “Not that far back, tire storage consisted of creating vertical stacks, which employees had to climb over to reach the desired tires. Nowadays, the buzzwords are convenience, safety and efficiency. These also happen to be our company values.”
The evolution of the market in these three axes also explains the diversification of supplier product lines. For example: tire inflation cages are growing in popularity, especially in the heavy-truck sector, while various automated conveyors and wheel lifters are used to protect worker health and safety.
“We’ve kept up with demand by closely following the evolution of business practices in tire and mechanical repair shops,” continues Depelteau. “This led to the development and distribution of an increasingly sophisticated line of specialized products.”
The increased scope of the Martins Industries line of products, to which 10 new products are added annually, is equally matched by an increase in the scope of their market.
“This market diversification has provided additional stability. For example, the demand for safety equipment in Europe is strong, but not so much in certain American regions,” Depelteau says.
“Also, the fluctuation in the value of the American dollar has less of an impact because of our presence in several other markets.”
Maintaining low prices
Another interesting aspect brought up by this supplier is the availability of products sold over the Internet. “Yes, I deal with several distributors, but we come to a pricing agreement beforehand,” Depelteau says. “The opportunity of making direct sales to shops requires a low pricing policy. This is the key to our business relationships in this particular market.”
The high level of consolidation and movement in the tire distribution market doesn’t worry this businessman.
“I view consolidation as a challenge,” he says. “We want tire distributors, both big and small, to keep our equipment top of mind. When you think about it, even if there are changes on the distribution front, the overall number of tires requiring handling, storage and installation will remain identical.”