CST Europe strengthens collaboration with distributors and customers

By expanding its European team, Cheng Shin Tire (CST) has further bridged the gap between its factory in Asia and its distributors in Europe. A professional, fully-fledged European team, based in the Netherlands, offers support in all possible areas and for all tires that Cheng Shin can produce, from sales to marketing. The European distributors and importers of CST are already reaping the first benefits of this.
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The strengthened European team of CST also contributes to product development - photo Marcelo Rypl.

“As a result of the coronavirus, many events and trade fairs were cancelled. These were traditionally the places where CST always had good, pleasant contact with the distributors, but also with the OEMs and aftermarket customers. When those events disappeared, we knew we had to look for another solution,” explains marketing manager Roderik Jager.

“We expanded the team, among others with Tim Dral, so that we have more capacity to be closer to our customers and to maintain closer relations. Previously, the European department was mainly focused on marketing. Since last year we offer a total package.”

Jack Rabbit II - the first tire CST co-developed with the team and it is still has an important value.

Challenges

Tim Dral is now mainly responsible for sales support. He knows CST like no other, worked for Cheng Shin Holland. “The coronavirus has created a lot of challenges in our industry, also for us. It requires good follow up. CST is, of course, an Asian company. By supporting our distributors and their customers in Europe – we don’t sell – we create a mutual understanding for each other’s points of view and move forward. We are an extension of the Cheng Shin factory and have the Western culture of CST customers. That makes the work much easier in many ways.”

Meanwhile, Dral has already met a large number of distributors in person. Among them are BIS S.r.l in Italy and Ogumienie CST in Poland. “These three companies are the largest CST hubs in Europe and deserve, just like all the other offices, support from our team, not only in the area of sales, but also in marketing. Think of the development of websites and packaging. The goal is to give CST the same professional image everywhere.”

Jager: “We want unity and uniformity in, for example, the websites and social media. Our team is working hard to set an international standard, with multiple languages. And through image databases we unlock our European content. Think of photography that becomes available from our partnerships, such as the cooperation with the Amstel Gold Race. The distributors can use this for, among other things, local brochures and flyers. In time, we intend to automate this process even more, preferably through an own platform. This will contain all the information you need: pictures, the right sizes, contact persons, information about availability, article codes, you name it.”

Photo Marinke Kho Davelaar.

Closer to market needs

The strengthened European team of CST also contributes to product development. Dral: “We are based in the Netherlands, a market that is often already ahead in bicycle trends. This allows us to respond very early to certain developments that soon after become dominant throughout Europe. In our contacts with distributors, OEMs and aftermarket customers, we also pick up a lot of signals. E-mountain biking and gravel are fields in which we have now acquired a great deal of knowledge. This makes the products even better and closer to market needs.”

Olympic champion Bart Brentjens

The partnerships also help. CST has an agreement with, among others, CST PostNL Bafang MTB Racing Team, the off-road team of former Olympic champion Bart Brentjens. “We obtain valuable product knowledge from this”, says Jager. “You try to develop new products not only from a theoretical perspective, but also using practical experience. If we hear that an MTB tyre should be faster on specific surfaces, we look into that. The solution we find is of course fantastic, in many ways. For the marketing story, but certainly also for the sales, because the product improves.”

MTB Racing Team - “Develop new products not only from a theoretical perspective” - photo’s Vincent Engel.

The European team at CST is pleased that more physical events are slowly taking place. Traditionally, CST is present at Eurobike, although the Asian colleagues are probably not physically present there yet. Jager: “That is a pity, but we are busy organising a video connection so that contact is still possible. Our distributors can use our stand as before, among other things for their appointments with customers. We have some spearheads during Eurobike. For example, a cargo tyre that can carry 200 kg. But also super light butyl inner tubes, the lightest we have ever made. These innovations are partly the result of strengthened relationships in Europe.”

Photo Vincent Engel.

This is sponsored by CST Europe