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CEVA Logistics is making the "logistics" part of its name outdated, unless one stretches the term to mean more than traditional transportation and warehousing. What the provider does for the Michelin Tire Group in the U.S. is a prime example of that trend.
Under its former name of TNT Logistics, CEVA has an extensive history of working with Michelin around the world. Five years ago, Michelin North America signed a contract with the then-parent of TNT, TPG N.V., handing over day-to-day operation of the client's tire distribution centers throughout the continent. That deal came seven years after inception of a similar logistics services contract between the two companies in the United Kingdom.
CEVA came into being last year, when TNT N.V. sold off its contract logistics unit to Apollo Management, a New York-based private equity firm. In the process, the company maintained the specialized services that it had built up over the years on behalf of tire manufacturers. Today, CEVA has tire contracts in 17 countries on five continents.
In the U.S., certain services that CEVA performs for Michelin on a regional basis exceed the boundaries of what some might consider logistics. Gina Moon is customer service associate with the Michelin Tire Group in Greenville, S.C., U.S. headquarters of the global concern. One of her accounts at that location is Utility Trailer, which provides specialized equipment to move tires to automobile manufacturers.
Michelin ships to five Utility Trailer locations in the U.S., two in Virginia and one each in Utah, Alabama and Arkansas. Shipment volume is around 250,000 units per year, according to Moon. At the facilities, however, it's CEVA that is responsible for receiving and mounting the tires on wheels. From there, the components move to the assembly lines of various customers.
CEVA manages the transportation end of the program as well, although it's Michelin that secures the appropriate trucker. Blue Trucking is a major hauler of shipments to the Independence facility because of its operations in Virginia. Swift Transportation Inc. and Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. are also regular providers of over-the-road service for Michelin.
CEVA performs the tire-mounting service not just for Michelin, but for other major tire manufacturers as well, including Goodyear, Bridgestone and Yokohama Tire. In all cases, the operation requires special handling so as not to scratch the pristine wheels that are intended for new cars. "We don't have a lot of issues like that," says Moon. "They are very good at what they do."
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