Harjeev Kandhari – ‘King Of The Flat Rate’

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QUESTION: Tyre commentators consider this to be one of the most innovative concepts in today’s business. How did you come up with such a ground-breaking idea?

ANSWER: Wow, it’s quite strange to hear it described in those terms! For us, the idea just seemed like an obvious progression of our industry. The relationship between a consumer and what is essentially a commoditised product has changed dramatically over the last few years. You only have to look at the success of companies like Netflix to see that for the younger generations especially, people’s attitude towards ownership has changed. The modern consumer wants everything on demand, so our thinking was why don’t we make tyres an on-demand subscription service like everything else? So, with the support of the whole Zenises team, we set to work developing the concept into reality.

Q: So what you’re saying is that Zenises has basically created the Netflix of Tyres, in the sense that you offer a similar style of on-demand subscription service and have both created something that’s not only innovative but also entirely unique to your respective industries?

A: Yes, I suppose you could put it like that! [Laughing] We didn’t set out to be revolutionary, we saw a developing need in the market and worked together to create a product that would fulfil that need. We wanted to provide a short-term, cost-based solution to the issues that new motorists encounter, such as the high cost of making initial distress purchases.

Q: How does it work?

A: Rather than having to make large initial payments for tyres, people can pay just 4.99 Euros per month for our premium quality Z-Tyres and this small fee also covers all of their new tyre-related costs, which helps to remove the anxiety that people feel when they have to make unplanned, major distress purchases. The customer places the order on the internet and then goes to one of our Z Stores to get them fitted a time of his or her convenience.
We’re unique because we control every stage of the distribution process through our F2C (Factory to Consumer) business model. And who benefits most from this? The consumer, because this allows us to put more money into the aesthetics and performance of the product we create and the quality of service we provide; not through different parts of the value chain that may not add any value to the consumer.

Q: At what moment did you realise that you had created a product that had the potential to completely revolutionise the tyre industry?

A: I suppose I don’t really think in those terms, although it’s interesting to hear a product that our company has created being described in such a way! We simply decided to work back from what we felt the customer wanted and find solutions to the customer’s problems. I think a lot of people in our industry are focussed on too many traditional channels today and forget that the customer is the King – not us! We recognised that our customers don’t really want to buy tyres. It is a distress purchase that they would rather not make. Especially with the new millennial generation wanting to have more on-demand pay as you go services, we thought this would be a natural fit. We decided not to look at our competition and do just better or cheaper but to look at what could be the best possible customer experience and then figure out how to create it.

We take great pride in what we do, and our focus is always on ‘How can we improve this?’. So although it’s wonderful whenever anything that you’re a part of becomes successful, this just inspires me and my team to innovate further; there is always more work to do!

Q: The Z Tyre Flat Rate Subscription is currently only available in Germany and yet has still managed to set the international tyre industry abuzz, do you have plans to roll this out to the global market?

A: Without a doubt. There’s clearly a gap in the global market and a need for our product so I want this to be available to consumers across the world, and this is something that my team is working on as we speak. And frankly since Zenises is also in the battery business we don’t see why we cannot adapt this to consumers’ battery needs as well.

Q: Competition – why aren’t others doing it?

A: That’s a good question! I think that along with certain legal protections that we have in place and our price positioning, it primarily comes down to the complexities of offering tyres as an on-demand service. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing team around me, but let me tell you, making the Z Tyre Subscription a reality wasn’t easy! Even with the best software developers and brightest tech minds working on the IT infrastructure, the fact is that we were attempting something that hadn’t been done before in the industry. Normal ordering and stock-keeping is necessarily complicated by the sale-or-return nature of the subscription model as well as the requirement for credit check and credit scoring integration. So we have learnt the hard way how complex and challenging the whole process can be. Having said that we always welcome competition as it only fuels to drive further innovation.

Q: It seems that Zenises is going from strength to strength – it’ll be very interesting to see how this concept progresses over the next couple of years so watch this space!