Apollo Tyres keen to burn rubber despite testing economic times

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2020

Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Apollo Tyres Ltd

Investing in technology to smoothen road ahead

Enduring reliability is simply the trademarked verbiage Apollo Tyres uses to summarise its goals and business practices. Just like a chair needs at least three strong legs to stay upright, Apollo Tyres relies on three sturdy business pillars, with reliability primed as the spare tyre that envelops the branding model.

Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Apollo Tyres Ltd, explains the company’s pillars of strength.

“Technology, brand and people are the three key pillars of our business. We have the highest spend on research and development in the Indian tyre industry. Original equipment (OEs) have acknowledged our better products, which gets substantiated by the fact that we are present in the eight of the top 10 best-selling cars on Indian roads,” Sharma told BusinessLine, on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.

Speaking about the biggest challenge facing the business, Sharma says, “The most immediate concern is, undeniably, the current economic situation and the resultant slackness in demand. This is probably the biggest and immediate challenge that all of us face in the industry.”

Despite the gloom, the company is keen to burn rubber, with Sharma stating the company continues to focus on the three pillars of technology, brand and people.

Maximising the resilience of each individual pillar strengthens the whole business, with Sharma noting a set of strong pillars (spokes) makes for a resilient business (wheel) that will roll easily even with applied stresses (rocks).

Not a tall order for a tyre company, but treading is difficult under the current circumstances.

Testing times

“These are the (testing) times when we are investing in building capabilities, so that we are better prepared than our competitors, when the economy improves, and demand goes up,” adds Sharma.

And go up it will, counters the confident official, who insists this is the right time to invest in technology to help conquer the small bumps on the road.

“We continue to invest in technology to get an additional advantage over competition in the marketplace. We are heavily investing in forecasting, supply chain planning and the entire Oracle Transport Management with track-and-trace,” he adds, referring to the tech major’s technology that completely automates both inbound and outbound shipments, right through routing, address validation, pack verification and labelling and settlement.

Apollo Tyres is not latching on to any established route to success though. Just as rock climbers have figured out how to hold on to the incredibly tiny holes, cracks, and ledges across the face of the rock and how to stitch it all together to move ahead, the company is exploiting the little pieces of rock strewn in its path, with technology aiding the climb.

“We are doing a lot of investments in technology to ensure that we are ready when suddenly the market goes up, because even the last time when it went up, it just shot up like an arrow. We want to be prepared when the next wave comes,” counters Sharma.

Published on January 22, 2020

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