Nigel Sowerby, the man behind the wheel of national tyre and related services retailer Trentyre, has his sights set on a major comeback for the group, and plans to drive it there through fundamental standards of excellence, “executed properly and throughout each and every outlet across the country”.
Sowerby, who joined Trentyre as Operations and Commercial Director in January this year, had headed Goodyear UK’s truck tyre and retail operations from 2006 until his new appointment. Before that he had worked his way up from counter-hand to director of American-based Dana Corporation, which specialises in automotive components and retail, so his experience and knowledge of the automotive services sector runs very deep.
“One of the highlights of my career with Goodyear UK was transforming the business into a sustainable entity that can now hold its own in the marketplace. I would go so far as to say that the Goodyear truck tyre business in the UK now sets the benchmark. This transformation was achieved following the implementation of a series of initiatives, once challenges within the operation had been identified,” he said.
His course for Trentyre has been laid out with the same passionate momentum. “I have vowed to take Trentyre back to great in the next three to five years, or for as long as my assignment remains in effect and I truly believe it can be done.
“First on my agenda is to drive home the message that Trentyre needs to ‘get back to basics.’ We must understand, identify, define and solidify our commercial proposition. The priority is to introduce and drive standards and to enforce the need for things to be done in strict accordance to service level agreements, on a national level.”
Staff morale, pride and confidence are another key focus area for Sowerby, who plans to boost earnings and bonuses as the company progresses. “We know where we want to get to: we want to be the best in the business, as well as run a sustainable business with decent returns. Working with our team, shifting mindsets where necessary, we will encourage people at branch level to treat the company like their own business. A change in leadership and proposition ultimately creates a new environment. We cherish hard work, self-motivation, drive and entrepreneurial flair and so this is the type of person that we would like to align ourselves with going forward.”
Sowerby’s aim is to “secure a good budget brand to add to our existing product range and to work extensively with both factories (Goodyear and Arctic) in Uitenhage to ensure we have the right products at the right price”.
“There is definitely room for improvement to the service offering within Trentyre or any other organisation for that matter. This year’s Gold Standard is next year’s Silver. “Trentyre’s wide footprint, our heritage, our service proposition and our close alliance to one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, Goodyear, are all part of the strong hand we already hold. We are fortunate to be aligned with such a powerful manufacturing force, however the two are entirely separate brands which are there to complement rather than dictate to one another. I’m a firm believer in allowing the service providers and retailers to do their job. The after-sales business thrives on entrepreneurial flair and talent so we want to promote and encourage this.”
Although he graduated with a BA Hons from Leicester University and has spent most of his working life in the United Kingdom, Sowerby has his roots in Africa and is delighted to be back. He was born in Nigeria, spent most of his childhood in Kenya and started working life in Kenya before settling in the UK again with Dana Corporation.
A family man, whose wife and two teenage daughters will join him in South Africa on completion of their studies, he loves the outdoor life of fishing, golfing and game viewing. “Due to my passion for travel, I’ve been lucky enough to see most of the world, but this country is the perfect fit for me: ample sunshine, the great outdoors and good wining and dining,” he says.