As fleets providing vital services to our communities incorporate more solutions into their operations and take a more holistic approach to maintain their tires, they will become more productive and efficient.
By Brian Cunningham

The service provided by waste and recycling fleets is vital to the functioning of our modern society. Maximizing your fleet’s operation and schedule is imperative, and yet urban fleets that work in this sector face difficult conditions with little to no room for error. These trucks must navigate tight streets and alleys that require drivers to operate in short bursts, working at a constant stop-and-go pace, and weathering curbs and pothole-ridden road surfaces. For all those reasons, making durable, high-quality and cost-conscious equipment that keeps fleets moving is incredibly important.

Issues that compromise a tire’s health directly impact efficiency and uptime, which is why an increasing number of fleet operators are looking at comprehensive tire management programs as essential to their efficiency and business success. If a vehicle gets a flat tire, that vehicle’s role in a fleet operation is impacted until the issue is resolved. The goal of a successful tire management program is for a fleet to get the most out of their tires and, by extension, their haulage assets. Tire programs should be tailored to the needs of the customer and designed to maximize efficiency, safety, and uptime with innovative tire technology, best-in-class service, world-class tire retreading programs, and data-driven insights into the unique health and maintenance needs of the fleet.

Maintaining Tires for High-Scrub Applications
It seems obvious, but we often forget that tires are the only part of a vehicle that touches the ground. If your tires are not functioning, the entire operational purpose of your vehicle is impacted. Over the years, tire technology has made significant strides and leading tire manufacturers are creating products custom-designed to the needs of fleets with enhanced performance and durability. Despite these advancements, the pressures on fleets to maximize their return on investment practically dictates a more strategic and data-driven
focus on tires.

Even though urban fleets may move at a slower pace, the work is demanding and can take a heavy toll on a vehicle’s tires. Keeping a close eye on your tire’s health can make a significant difference in your vehicle’s efficiency. Take air pressure, for example: when a tire is properly inflated, that has a positive impact on rolling resistance, fuel efficiency, and overall uptime. Meanwhile, an under-inflated tire is more prone to damage and safety hazards. That is why tire health is never a minor factor in the overall health of your vehicle.


Bridgestone’s TBR software. Photo courtesy of Bridgestone.

Benefits of Retreading
Retreading is one of the oldest and best examples of a circular economy, reducing waste and optimizing a fleet’s investment in a premium tire casing. When the worn tire can no longer be repaired for safe use, the worn tire’s casing is then repurposed for its next lifecycle. Using a casing as a reusable asset is a business strategy that has resulted in significant environmental benefits. We have kept an estimated 300 million tires out of the waste stream, saving four billion gallons of oil in the process. Retreading has been a sustainable form of our business long before sustainability was a growing societal goal.

Retreading is not only an environmental benefit for fleets, but it is a cost savings opportunity as well. When a premium tire casing is recovered and retreaded, businesses can extend the life of their tires and lower tire cost per mile without sacrificing performance. Fleets that use retreads can see up to 30 percent in savings compared to buying a brand-new tire. Moreover, the more you retread your tires, the more you save. Some of the largest privately-run waste fleets in the country retread their tires three times or more to maximize their investment. Additionally, retreads offer a lower rolling resistance and provide trucks with better fuel efficiency, which helps fleets save at the pump.

Additional Savings Through Digital Solutions
As fleets look to better understand and measure their operations, the advent of sensor technologies and cloud-based networking is transforming the way fleets think about tire management. Data-driven solutions are rapidly moving to the forefront because of their ability to arm operators with actionable insights into the health of their equipment.

Automated tire management platforms are built to reduce tire costs, increase labor productivity, and keep fleets running safely. This is accomplished through sensor technology and cloud-based software. Once sensors are applied, they begin gathering and supplying tire pressure and temperature data via yard-mounted communications channels or 5G cellular connectivity. Operators then access the information through an app, which can be viewed on any type of smart device in real time.

Within the app, users can quickly identify tire issues and provide a real-time task list for technicians based on measurements recorded every two minutes by the sensors. Because of individual sensors installed to each tire, the data can be broken down to individual tires and issues by wheel position. Insights gathered in real-time have proven to help fleets prevent issues and better maintain their tires overall, thus reducing downtime and saving money.

How to Start Your Tire Program
If you are unsure how to start a program or need to hit reset on your current tire program, the best place to begin is with premium tires with long-lasting, robust casings. This initial step allows you to start a cycle of maximizing your investment and reducing your carbon footprint. By beginning with premium tires, you can connect your equipment with digital solutions to monitor tire health. When the tire becomes worn, it can be easily retreaded because of how new tires are being manufactured.

Urban fleets face tough road and driving conditions, and waste and recycling trucks require a tire that is durable and has unwavering performance. A wide-base all-position radial tire is engineered to do just that. This next generation tire benefits from a newly redesigned tread package and deeper tread pattern to deliver confident wear life and scrub resistance. Along with its innovative design features and digital connectability, these tires have been engineered to be highly retreadable to help fleets maximize their investment.

The Future is Here for Urban Fleets
Tire programs that connect tires, digital solutions, and retreading are redefining how fleets manage their equipment. Premium tires combined with digital solutions provide fleets with a level of knowledge that better equips owners to maximize the life of their tires, drive uptime, and reduce overall cost.

Tire programs that use premium tires and digital solutions also help companies deliver on sustainability goals by way of retreaded tires, which reduces their environmental footprint by eliminating tire waste. By maintaining premium tires with digital solutions, owners can monitor the tire’s health and then recover the tire when it becomes worn. Large waste and recycling businesses in major cities around the county practice this method and can retread their tires three or more times to maximize investment.
Mobility has become more than just tires. Urban fleets are seeing the value in tire programs and how they can drive bottom line results. As fleets providing vital services to our communities incorporate more solutions into their operations and take a more holistic approach to maintain their tires, they will become more productive and efficient. | WA

Brian Cunningham is Vice President of Fleet Solutions for Bridgestone Americas and oversees all aspects of sales to strategic, key and national fleet accounts in North America. Brian has been with Bridgestone for more than 25 years, beginning as an area sales manager for Bandag in 1997. For more information on Bridgestone Americas’ Commercial tire business, visit