Protyre News

Howard Rowe_Edited

Howard Rowe: Insights from the Retail Category Management Team at Protyre Autocare


I began my new role with Protyre Autocare in November 2023, and work alongside Richard Ord (Retail Commercial Operations Manager) and Julia Lehane (Category Manager). I’m responsible for Service and MOT along with oils and filtration.

I’ve always worked in the automotive industry, usually in a data research, automotive analysis, pricing, or business support role. It is a long time though since I’ve been in a company with a retail face, and I am enjoying the challenge of supporting the centres and the wider business in the work I do.

This I’ve done so far by attempting to unlock the secrets of some of the datasets that we are party to. This can be the data that we generate ourselves through transactions in Cameo, which I draw out of Phocas. From this, I’ve been reviewing our service packages and MOT offerings with a view to some restructuring of the current content and prices. This will help refine what is on offer through our centres and enhance our already-great customer service.

My analysis has also been within supplier files. We receive monthly summaries of the hard part and lubricant purchases we’ve made from our suppliers to fit to our customer’s vehicles. On this, I am trying to expand upon the existing brand-based good/better/best philosophy for our business. Receiving and fitting the right products means we support our customers by installing OEM/OES-quality items to their vehicles. From this, dialogue with the suppliers on what we’re buying and prefer to buy can take place.

So, I’m in the unusual position of seeing both sides of these stories – seeing what we’re getting and what we’re doing with it…

I’m typically home-based but appear at Southam from time to time for meetings with others in the team. I’ve also just seen the refreshed office above Southam Tyres and plan to spend some more work time there, as a different environment, change of scenery and building relationships with other parts of MTS are very important. It will be good to escape the noise and dust that has been going on around me as part of a building project at home which has been underway since late last year! I’m hoping to be within the last couple of weeks of the builders being on-site!

What was particularly beneficial for me was to attend the Central Regional Roadshow earlier this year in Coventry. It was positive to be reminded of the scale of our business in the presentations on the day and was a good illustration that despite operating solo a lot of the time, I am part of a much bigger Protyre team.

Moving forward, I’m aiming to spend more time on the road, visiting centres to see what goes on at the customer-facing side of the business and to understand what effect my analysis could have and what to focus on. I plan to look at our opportunities for profit; there is, for example untapped promise in the world of filtration that I intend to examine. More regular installation of pollen filters could be a good way for us to generate more revenue from a simple additional piece of work.

I also will be nurturing Protyre Autocare’s relationships with our hard part suppliers and aim to tap into their wider product and market knowledge. This will help me become more conversant in some of the products within my category area.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on our competitors, their service and MOT packages and pricing.

Finally, I have worked closely with Marketing to create and prepare all the necessary comms assets so that when a product page goes live on we are ready to drive traffic to it. This is currently going through due process with the web team/IT before it goes live.

So, I expect to be busy, but it’s great to be on board with you all for our Protyre Autocare journey!