OTR Wheel Engineering Inc.

In terms of client retention and longevity, OTR Wheel Engineering Inc.’s client list looks much the same today as it has for the majority of the company’s 28-year history. “We have not really lost any major customers,” CFO Bob Owens says. “Once we land a customer, they tend to stay with us because of the quality of our products and service we provide.”

The Rome, Ga.-based company provides tires, wheels, mounted tire and wheel assemblies, and rubber tracks. The company’s name – OTR stands for “off the road” – best describes its specialty. “We’re in diversified industry segments that have the fact that their products are not used on the highway in common,” Owens adds. 

The company operates 11 warehouse/distribution facilities across the United States. Each of OTR’s locations is strategically located near the manufacturing facility of one of what Owens calls OTR’s “anchor” customers. “These are customers who do enough business with us that we opened warehouses within 20 minutes of their location and deliver to them on a just-in-time or just-in-sequence basis,” Owens says. 

All of OTR’s services are tailored specifically to customer’s needs. “We believe in working with our customers, knowing what their priorities are and establishing a program to match their needs,” he says. 

OTR stores up to four weeks worth of inventory in its warehouses, and can make as many daily deliveries as its customers need to meet their production schedules. Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and transportation brokers help the company make its shipments to customers in a timely manner. “We work with suppliers to see when their products are ready to ship, and make sure our 3PLs have clear traffic lanes and don’t have delays in getting products to us,” Owens says.

Markets and Services

In addition to retaining longtime customers, OTR also continues to add new clients and markets. OTR serves nine industries including the agricultural, industrial, power sports and lawn and garden markets. The company’s diversity allows it to offset sectors such as mining that are seeing a market decline with others that are growing. One growing sector is the lawn and garden product market, which is seeing an increase in the number of new products produced. The company recently leased a warehouse near Milwaukee to serve customers in this market. 

OTR also recently added to its manufacturing capabilities. The company provides assembly services including rim mounting, drilling, welding and painting, and is capable of assembling tires ranging in size from 8 inches to 63 inches in diameter. 

The company is installing a rim rolling line in one of its facilities. This line will give OTR the ability to manufacture wheels “from A to Z,” and allow it to better control the quality of the products, he adds. 

The company’s status as an ISO 9001 company also allows it to reassure customers of quality. The company performs in-house non-destructive testing including ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle inspection, dye penetration examination and Faro Arm dimensional inspection. OTR staff engineers also regularly perform quality checks at supplier sites. “We’d rather find out about any quality issues before a product ships,” Owens notes.

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