etyres - Business Pioneers: Making Green affordable and profitable

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Business Pioneers: Making Green affordable and profitable

Making Green Affordable and Profitable

"Green" goods and services are frequently less attractive. The farmer’s market is probably not as conveniently located as the local supermarket. And the packaging is not as appealing. Consequently supermarkets dominate food retailing while farmer’s markets only have a minute market share.

Old fashioned Terry towelling nappies are much greener than disposable ones but they are far less convenient. So… surprise surprise… disposable nappies massively outsell Terry towelling ones. We all realise that they cause huge environmental damage but unfortunately this isn’t a big enough incentive to get us to change to something less convenient.

We all appreciate that if we slow down we use less fuel in our cars, but because we are in a hurry we don't want to drive slowly. Some people can see the bigger picture but most don't. We buy millions of bottles of water rather than fill up a bottle from our tap at home. This has a huge detrimental effect on our environment, but it is more convenient. So we carry on doing what is most convenient.

However, if the provider of the product or service that helps the environment can make it more attractive as well as greener they are on the right track. Better still, if it is cheaper as well as greener, people definitely will change. So we are talking about product development, design, marketing and price.

And price is very, very important. If a greener product or service is cheaper as well, it begins to look extremely attractive. And if it can be improved as well, it’s a no-brainer. Everyone will eventually change. They will be delighted to do so. And the supplier will sell more and more and make more profit.

So if we are seeking to change people’s established lifestyle patterns and buying habits to reduce environmental damage the Holy Grail is to offer a win-win-win situation. The customer is better off, the supplier makes more money and environmental damage is reduced.
So how can this be achieved? Here’s an example.

Most car tyres are still sold by tyre depots such as Kwik-Fit and ATS. About fifteen years ago the manufacturers of the wheel balancing machines that are used in these tyre depots started to use computerised circuit boards. These needed less voltage, so they could be run off 12 volts rather than 240 volts. This made it possible to put all the tyre fitting equipment, including the wheel balancing machine, in a van and offer a mobile service, which was a great improvement in customer service.

In 1992 that is where we came in. But because we were a new business and didn’t already have expensive tyre depots we could cut out that huge overhead and offer a completely mobile service and much cheaper prices. We expanded steadily and by the mid nineties we had opened thirty or forty branches.

Then along came The Internet. We saw how it perfectly complemented what we were already doing, so we launched etyres and our business has boomed. As our volume has increased we have opened more branches. The added volume has enabled us to pass through even lower prices. We now operate in over seventy UK territories.

The increased volume also enables us to optimise our work schedules and journey planning more efficiently, keeping the mileage of our tyre fitting vans to a minimum.

The mileage of our fitting vans, on an efficiently planned route, is less than half that driven by car owners to get to a central depot. Less mileage is better for the environment. And our new vans cause even less pollution because they use LPG.

etyres is very concerned about environmental issues. We have always made sure that we operate in an environmentally friendly way. We use zinc wheel balancing weights instead of lead and we are very careful that the scrap tyres are disposed of correctly and only by properly certificated contractors.

All of this adds up to a much greener sales proposition. Drivers are changing in droves because our prices are up to 50% cheaper than national tyre depots and our service is far better.

You don’t often hear about companies making more bottom line profit by being greener but it is perfectly possible to do that if the Customer has a financial benefit as well.

That’s exactly what we have done at etyres.
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