Apr 26, 2020



By Gerald Böse, President and CEO, Koelnmesse

The successful premiere of THE TIRE COLOGNE is a confirmation of our long and intensive preparations. After all, from the first announcement in 2014 until the trade fair in 2018, we worked for four years in cooperation with the industry on the concept, services on supporting events, initiated world-wide information and marketing campaigns and incorporated partners for many themes. We have convinced exhibitors and visitors to THE TIRE COLOGNE with our event concept and a new orientation, with the high quality of visitors, a generously dimensioned hall offering and a strong concept in terms of content, and received a unanimous vote from the international tyre and wheel industry: Cologne is the leading international meeting point of the industry right from the start!

However, this doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels. Our thinking and action are oriented to continuing further development: we see ourselves as part of the international tyre and wheel industry, and also want to provide impulses in terms of content that are of use to the industry for future development. Every industry requires perspectives on how the future orientation and potential for further growth can be developed and realised. In our concept we have defined clear strategic and conceptual goals that point out and realise these perspectives.

1. the independent and comprehensive reflection of the industry at all levels, at a glance and at the right time.

2. the internationalisation of all relevant industry segments.

3. the generation of new visitor target groups. In addition to the themes of online commerce and workshop services, we have in this way addressed important target groups like fleet managers and transport companies and attracted them to Cologne. We have also clearly emphasised the theme of recycling, which has to date only been treated inadequately – additional added value for industry and commerce. This has all worked very well, but there is still much more potential for further expansion. Accordingly, we analysed all areas and thematic focuses and verified development potential here and there. For example, we want to expand the Recycling/Retreading, Workshop and Services sections, but also the over arching theme of digitalisation. To this purpose, we are already involved in an intensive exchange with potential exhibitors, organisations and partners.

We have thus already achieved the most important goal of comprehensively reflecting the entire industry. I especially emphasise this because we are now in a two-year cycle. However, the premiere in 2018 had a run up period of nearly four years, extending from the announcement that the industry was switching to Cologne to the first event. Almost five months prior to the opening of the fair, more than 90 per cent of the planned exhibition areas have already been rented -in comparison to the final result of 2018, even almost 95 per cent in comparison with the original planning for 2018. More than 400 companies have already confirmed their participation in THE TIRE COLOGNE 2020, including nearly all well-known key accounts from the focus segments. THE TIRE COLOGNE is thus the world's only B2B platform to present the top brands of the international tyre world. We will be making smaller adjustments, for example, in the hall planning, in order to optimise further here. In concrete terms, this means that the big key players will not exclusively be placed in Halls 6 and 7, but some now also in Hall 8. This ensures even more optimal distribution of visitors to all halls of THE TIRE COLOGNE, and at the same time reinforces the segments of car services and workshop outfitting. Hall 9, with the focus on the themes of tyre remoulding and recycling, will also be made more attractive for exhibitors and visitors, in that the "Global Retreading Conference" and the Recycling Forum will also take place here. In addition, the "Future Mobility" special area will also be realised in Hall 9 for the first time.

With the "Future Mobility" special area, THE TIRE COLOGNE wants to take a look into the future and point to questions that affect the industry: how will mobility change in the future? What impact will changes have on people and society? What does changed mobility mean for the product tyres? And what effect will this have on the tyre industry? Answers to these questions will be provided by, among others, Dr Sascha Peters, one of the most renowned material and technology experts in Europe, who will discuss the theory and practice revolving around the product of tyres and possible changes in the future in the context of the special event. As a highlight and at the same time as a stimulus for active participation, a driving course is being planned for the "Future Mobility" special event, where autonomous or electrically powered vehicles will be in use.

The event programme is oriented to questions that currently affect the industry – whether this involves innovative further developments or a theme that affects every one against the background of climate change: sustainability. With the "Recycling Forum," we offer a complete overview of the decisive aspects in the field of tyre recycling and sustainability. And sustainability of course also plays an important role for the Global Retreading Conference. The conference is a one-time opportunity to take a global look at thedecisive trends and developments of the retreading industry. The focus this time is on "Retreading as Best Practise for the Circular Economy."

An important theme we are emphasising for THE TIRE COLOGNE in a targeted fashion is "digitalisation." Digitalisation affects us all and is causing a dramatic change in all areas of life. The digital transformation opens up big chances for more qualityof life, new business models and more efficient business economy. In the framework of the Digital Strategy, Koelnmesse deals with all aspects of digitalisation that are or might become relevant for the company and the trade fair business. And digitalisation has also long since arrived in the tyre industry. With various sessions on the stage of THE TIRE COLOGNE, we will show what digitalisation already means today for all participants of the tyre industry, and how it can be used for your business.

The digital transformation remains a definitive theme of decisive importance for the future focus at Koelnmesse, but surely also for the tyre and wheel industry. For us as Koelnmesse, digitalisation is the central development programme in the company, on which more than 100 of our own employees are working. The goal is the successful transfer of the core business of the trade fair into the digital world: through the development of digital services and business models, the improvement of internal processes, the digitalisation of the fair grounds and the expansion of the corresponding trade fair themes. The programme includes both projects that have already been in existence for a longer period of time, such as ticket and access systems, or a digital sales system introduced two years ago, but also new themes like the digitalisation of traffic management or digital signage, a joint project with Samsung. It unites route guidance, infotainment and advertising on more than 200 m² of digital area and is currently being further expanded upon – and is of course being used for THE TIRE COLOGNE.

Digitalisation influences markets and needs – as well as our exhibitors and visitors. Digitalisation is therefore a strong aspect for the tyre and wheel industry, because it permeates trends and changes. In order to intensify this understanding and be able to react to possible challenges "just in time," THE TIRE COLOGNE, together with the IFH, the Institut für Handelsforschung in Cologne, has carried out an extensive study and survey of the tyre trade in five core markets - in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Poland. The goal of the study is to verify the themes of relevance to the trade in the respective countries, and how it reacts to challenges, whether with regard to digital transformation, digital tools, trends or recruiting staff. Very informative were the findings, and in some cases very different findings in the countries surveyed – also and in particular with regard to the theme of digitalisation and the use of digital tools to address and secure the loyalty of customers.

However, the study is only the first step of this project. We will soon also be offering the specialised trade the possibility to benchmark itself and its service profile against the European average at the website of THE TIRE COLOGNE. With the comparative result of the "Fit forthe Future" test, the participant also immediately receives a brief analysis and possible approaches to solutions, which could be of benefit for the further development of their own business.

The international tyre and wheel industry is strong and has great potential. However, it must at the same time invest in order to assure this potential. THE TIRE COLOGNE will contribute to this development as the leading international industry platform!

 ( Kindly Note:  THE TIRE COLOGNE has been postponed until 2021. The organisers yet to declare new dates)


Extensive study,  survey supplemented with Fit for Future test

As the leading platform for tyres and wheels, THE TIRE COLOGNE sees itself not only as a business hub that brings together all relevant players from industry and trade in one place. Much more than this, it sees its task in the presentation of themes and content that benefit the future development of the industry. "We see ourselves as part of the industry and want to point out solutions for the constant market changes, with the goal of setting sustainable impulses for the development of the industry. This is the bar we have set for ourselves. This year we initiated a study in five European core markets, the results of which will provide all market participants with a better understanding of the function of the respective markets and the challenges there. Building on the results of the study, each trader can now check themselves in our downstream "FitforFuture-Test" to find out where they stand and where there is room for improvement," according to Christoph Werner, Senior Vice President Trade Fair Management of Koelnmesse.

Markets are constantly changing and, as a consequence, also the needs of customers. In order to intensify this understanding and be able to react to possible challenges "just in time," THE TIRE COLOGNE, together with the Institut für Handelsforschung in Cologne (IFH Köln), has carried out an extensive study and survey of the tyre trade in five core markets - in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Poland. Managing directors, owners and masters from companies in the specialist tyre trade from five countries were surveyed, and secondary research and interviews was carried out. The survey focused on the clusters of digitalisation and digital tools and automobile mega-trends, as well as personnel recruiting and continuing training of staff.

A short summary of the study results:

Digitalisation is bringing big challenges for tyre retailers: The European tyre trade is changing rapidly. This is being propelled by changing customer behaviour. The customers of the tyre trade have considerably higher expectations of service than in the past and expect communication on all channels with coordinated sales and service offerings. Digitalisation is also changing and is placing one sector after the other in question - the tyre trade must keep up with the general digital transformation. The challenges relating to this have for the most part been recognised and tend to be evaluated with reference to the chances. Nonetheless, there are sometimes shortcomings in implementation. The reason: the tyre trade isn't daring enough. The broad portfolio of digital tools has not yet been utilised consistently. In addition to this, mega-trends are classified as science fiction without looking for one's own advantages in the here and now.

Tyre trade will soon face a personnel problem: This is exacerbated by a massive personnel problem - at least in most European countries. The tyre trade is already facing problems recruiting new employees in the core area of the workshop, but also with the acute line of succession. And there are no effective remedies in sight.

What needs to be done?: The tyre trade must develop a certain amount of self-confidence. This must correspond with the core requirements of the digital age - meaning, be present on all channels and be based on smooth and rapid processes. Only then can one provide profitable offerings, products and services. In addition to this, the tyre trade requires a broader portfolio of digital instruments for internal and external use. More practice and continuity in the usage of these instruments is also required. In addition to this, the tyre trade requires creative solutions and must develop convincing arguments extending beyond the standard offerings, in order to find and bind more employees.

FitforFuture test and best practise

All results of the THE TIRE COLOGNE study - complete, as a management summary, but also the evaluations of the individual countries and core topics - are available for download on the website of THE TIRE Cologne at https://www.thetire-cologne.com/the-fair/tireresearch/tireresearch.php . Furthermore, on the website of THE TIRE COLOGNE the FitForFuture test can be used effective immediately to check how one's company is developing in terms of #DigitalTransformation, #DigitalToolbox, #Recruitment/ human resources development and #Trends.
Subsequent to this, he will immediately receive the test results and relevant best practice examples from the aftermarket, but also from other retail industries.

Of course, findings from the study will also play a role in the context of the congress and event programme of THE TIRE COLOGNE, where the four core themes will be discussed with industry participants and experts in special theme forums. Subsequent networking events provide exhibitors and visitors with additional added value while looking at the study and discussion results in greater depth.



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