Ok Tire Service Logo White Outline

Who

OK Tire, a 100% employee-owned tire store chain with 13 locations in North Dakota

What

Digitize safety and compliance systems for all 13 locations

Why

To build a proactive safety system with built-in accountability features

How

Use inspections, toolbox talks, and equipment features to simplify OSHA, DOT, and EPA compliance requirements

OK Tire Stores is a 100% employee-owned tire store chain offering tire-related products and services across the state of North Dakota. Founded in 1960, OK Tires now operates 13 locations across the state and is well known for its exceptional customer service.

Growing to 13 locations and maintaining its commitment to excellence required an operational change. In February 2021, OK Tire came to Safesite to digitize its safety and compliance systems and run a lean, mean, tire-changing machine of an operation.

Safesite has done more than digitize OK Tire’s compliance program.

According to Adam Mueller, Chief Operations Officer, it’s changed the way OK Tire operates, allowing Mueller to make big, data-based decisions and future plans.

“It’s allowing me to be a lot better at my job; I feel like I’m doing my job right and it’s taking me minutes.”

Driving Paper Compliance Forward (Literally)

Prior to using Safesite, OK Tire ran its safety and compliance operations on paper and used a chain of custody system that involved physically driving paper inspections from its 13 locations to one location on Main Street in Fargo.

The compliance process was reactive at best. More importantly, it lacked accountability, left OK Tire vulnerable to legal issues, and left huge amounts of available and actionable data on the table.

Ss Oktires Ok Tire

“Let’s take forklift inspections as an example,” Mueller said. “Every day, an employee comes in and does a paper inspection on a clipboard. And then the inspection would sit on the clipboard for a month because they didn’t turn it in to us.”

“It could take a month to know something was wrong with the forklift.”

When you multiply that issue by more than a dozen locations, it’s not hard to see how problems grow with scale.

When Mueller took on the responsibility for the safety program, OK Tire was in the midst of a significant transition. With 13 stores and hundreds of compliance documents required every week, HR could no longer handle the safety program alone, so they passed it on to Mueller in operations.

Taking a hard look at OK Tire’s compliance program, Mueller knew something had to change.

“The minute I started looking at the workload created just through compliance requirements, I realized that it couldn’t happen without hiring somebody.”

The difference, Mueller said, was between “finding a software solution or spending $65k a year hiring someone just to manage the program.”

And even then, a new hire wouldn’t solve the pain points that came with OK Tire’s growth. OK Tire needed a strategic digitization solution and powerful analytics to move forward. And Mueller found all of that and more in Safesite.

Driving Paper Compliance Forward (Literally)

Prior to using Safesite, OK Tire ran its safety and compliance operations on paper and used a chain of custody system that involved physically driving paper inspections from its 13 locations to one location on Main Street in Fargo.

The compliance process was reactive at best. More importantly, it lacked accountability, left OK Tire vulnerable to legal issues, and left huge amounts of available and actionable data on the table.

“Let’s take forklift inspections as an example,” Mueller said. “Every day, an employee comes in and does a paper inspection on a clipboard. And then the inspection would sit on the clipboard for a month because they didn’t turn it in to us.”

“It could take a month to know something was wrong with the forklift.”

When you multiply that issue by more than a dozen locations, it’s not hard to see how problems grow with scale.

When Mueller took on the responsibility for the safety program, OK Tire was in the midst of a significant transition. With 13 stores and hundreds of compliance documents required every week, HR could no longer handle the safety program alone, so they passed it on to Mueller in operations.

Taking a hard look at OK Tire’s compliance program, Mueller knew something had to change.

“The minute I started looking at the workload created just through compliance requirements, I realized that it couldn’t happen without hiring somebody.”

The difference, Mueller said, was between “finding a software solution or spending $65k a year hiring someone just to manage the program.”

And even then, a new hire wouldn’t solve the pain points that came with OK Tire’s growth. OK Tire needed a strategic digitization solution and powerful analytics to move forward. And Mueller found all of that and more in Safesite.

Building Accountability into the Safety Program

OK Tire always had OSHA, DOT, and EPA compliance requirements. The burden of those requirements grew as the company scaled. Yet, the previous system didn’t allow for much accountability, especially in real-time.

For OK Tire, a simple date stamp created domino-style changes for the organization. Rather than waiting on a month-old report to arrive by vehicle, Mueller now sees inspections, checklists, and toolbox talks appear in his safety management dashboard in real-time — with a date stamp.

In Mueller’s words, “I don’t have to wait to find out somebody hasn’t been doing their job for a month.”

The accountability issue didn’t just simplify the compliance side of Mueller’s job. It also simplifies the workers compensation insurance process.

OK Tire operates in North Dakota, where the state manages the workers compensation and safety programs. North Dakota-based businesses need to sit through additional safety audits for the state. And Safesite transformed the experience.

The minute we showed Safesite to our auditor, we got rave reviews.

“During the audit, they ask you for your meeting notes and sign-up sheets from your safety meetings. When I showed her that we could pull up anything at any time, she was really impressed. I was even able to pull it up on the screen in front of her and show her how we do inspections and how we track safety certifications,” Mueller said.

“There’s No Insurance Policy for DOT Fines”

“The biggest thing for me is the way we’re way more proactive with Safesite than we used to be,” Mueller said. “When something’s wrong with one site, then we can see it and make sure we’re not making the same mistakes. There’s a huge improvement on people just following through on what needs to be done.”

Although OK Tire is still a new Safesite user, Mueller suspects he’s already saved a significant amount of money. After all, OK Tire has workers compensation coverage from the state and general liability and auto from their insurance providers. But there’s no insurance to protect you from DOT or OSHA fines.

So, in addition to the cost savings of potentially hiring a new employee ($65,000) just to manage compliance, Mueller is confident they’ve also already avoided some DOT penalties. Something as simple as a crack in the windshield of a vehicle would previously be logged and forgotten about, leading to a big hit from DOT later. 

With Safesite, the store or warehouse manager flags a chip or crack, and Mueller sees the hazard a few minutes later and can then get it fixed.

What’s coming next? Mueller has big plans for integrating Safesite deeper into the business and even creating a data-based safety incentive program for all employees. What he does know is this:

“Safesite? It’s one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made.”

Nikki Olson

By Nikki Olson

Nikki Olson is a former commercial archaeologist and current Content Marketing Manager at Safesite, the only forever free safety solution. When Nikki’s not waist-deep in writing and editing, she’s in over her head surfing and kayaking around Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.