Today Michelin launched Michelin Tire Care, a suite of connected software solutions designed to help hauliers get the most out of their tyres. The idea is that as fleets use the mobile/tablet-based software they both get more performance (and therefore financial value) from their tyre purchases and in doing so see the value of premium and especially Michelin truck tyre products.
At one end of the three-app spectrum TireLog is a free digital worksheet, product comparison and workshop planning tool aimed at fleets of 20 vehicles and less. Then there’s iCheck, which offers predictive tyre diagnostics for larger fleets. And finally there’s iManage, which is designed with both RFID and TPMS technology in mind in order to combine individual maintenance and traceability for each tyre. Unlike TireLog, the latter products are not free of charge and are instead available on a subscription basis, costing between one and nine euros per vehicle per month.
The development of the apps brings with it an openness that reflects the ground-level reality that customers are currently using different systems, maintenance methods and tyre brands on their fleets. With this in mind, the apps have been developed in both Android and Apple iOS formats, making them accessible to the widest possible audience – and they are also compatible with with competitor truck tyres and RFID/TPMS technologies. On the one hand this is a gamble as customers could use the software to compare product performance by brand and decide not to use the leading French manufacturer’s products, however on the other hand the technology helps Michelin a) clearly differentiate premium tyres from low-cost products and b) differentiate itself from its premium competitors.
The belief that fleets need to get more out of their tyres is based on Michelin research that shows a third of all breakdowns are tyre related and that 90 per cent of these are pressure related. At the same time data collated by Michelin’s international network of retreading facilities shows that truck tyres are being taken off at an average tread depth of 4.8mm. When you consider that a fleet of 300 vehicles stands to gain 9000 euros a year per mm of tread average improvement, there is plenty of potential to help such fleets realise significant savings. And that’s before tyre pressure and fuel consumption effects are taken into account.
During the presentation Serge Lafon, Michelin’s executive vice president Truck Product Line – worldwide confirmed that the technology (which was first launched in the US earlier this year) is also being tested for introduction into other global markets. At the same time, the RFID technology that has been present in Michelin’s X-InCity range since 2012 and was more recently introduced to the the Multi T trailer line, will be introduced across the Michelin truck tyre range by the end of 2016.