Tell us a bit about your business. When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?
Bridgestone is a multinational tyre and rubber company and the world’s largest manufacturer of tyres. It was established in 1931 in Japan by Shojiro Ishibashi.
Today, it is a multi-billion-pound business with 178 manufacturing plants in 25 countries and a presence in more than 150 markets worldwide. Its Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) division operates in more than 40 countries, employs more than 22,000 people and owns 17 tyre plants. In the UK, its head offices are in Tachbrook Park, Warwick.
What does the business do?
Bridgestone is evolving to provide real solutions to the real problems its customers face, in a fast-changing world. This is why we are rapidly transforming from a premium tyre producer into a ‘mobility solutions’ business.
As part of this transformation our aim is to pioneer solutions that benefit end-users, customers and society. High-performance mobility can improve quality of life in cities with better public transportation, reduced congestion and traffic-related accidents, and increased accessibility.
By using resources more efficiently, we can help deliver a safer and smarter transport experience that also improves social and environmental outcomes across the globe. We are delivering on our mobility commitments by addressing accessible mobility, smart mobility and safe transport.
How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?
We have recently launched a number of very competitive commercial tyres in the UK market and this suggests the year ahead is one to be excited about, not least when coupled with the strides we are making in mobility solutions, such as our acquisition of TomTom Telematics (now known as Webfleet Solutions), and more recently, the Tyre Damage Monitoring System we have just developed with Microsoft.
Our new tyre products include the Duravis All Season, which is aimed at the light truck segment and is designed with both small and large fleet operations in mind; the Ecopia H002, which can deliver fuel and CO2 savings when used on steer and drive trailer axles; and the Duravis R002 which was developed and tested in partnership with 17 fleets across 13 countries and a wide variety of operational settings.
Bridgestone has also placed great emphasis on developing its ‘future mobility’ solutions. In doing so the company has invested heavily in its digital capabilities and pioneered a range of applications to support customers with data-based insights, convenience and maximum efficiency.
The 2019 acquisition of Webfleet Solutions (formerly known as TomTom Telematics) means we can support businesses with real-time information on vehicle locations, insight into driver behaviour, data on fuel usage and the like and the ability to communicate with their team in the field in real time.
What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?
We’re seeing demand for fleet solutions growing year-on-year. Fleet managers need a reliable, advanced support to minimise operating costs, reduce total cost of ownership and increase productivity.
Webfleet Solutions offers an innovative end-to-end system that seamlessly integrates the likes of transport management systems, on-board cameras, mileage data, route optimisation software and HGV-specific navigation to deliver real business benefits.
Meanwhile, our three-in-one FleetPulse solution, can reduce downtime, provide greater visibility of vehicle health and reduce potentially dangerous breakdowns.
The system uses data from Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) cloud framework as well as from sensors already fitted to a vehicle and uses algorithms to detect irregularities in the tyre surface. Because the system understands when and where damage has occurred, it could be used to notify road maintenance agencies about potholes or other hazards that pose a risk to drivers – a function we believe will be especially useful for future autonomous vehicles.
Bridgestone North Europe region