A future well grounded

In Global Business Update, July 20235 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 18, 2023

World trucking events, such as the recent Brisbane Truck Show, attract local heavy hitters and senior members of global organisations. Raj Bajaj, Bridgestone’s VP for mobility solutions, was in town for the event, so we took a moment to catch up and hear first-hand how Bridgestone views the future.

Let’s look at why Bridgestone is getting into the connectivity and the end solutions business,” says Bjaj. “It is a sustainable end solution that Bridgestone has espoused, and we have decided to offer an end-to-end business solution in achieving that. It is the reason Bridgestone acquired Tom Tom Telematics and part of the reasoning behind other acquisitions, like Bandag. The global markets demand full solutions, rather than just the tyre, rubber and piecemeal products.”

The deeper into the conversation you get with Bjaj, the more Bridgestone’s strategic cohesiveness emerges. Across industry, there’s a rethink as to what sustainability means; that the ‘environment’ is actually all environments – physical, workplace and societal – and the welfare of each is correlated to the others.

The heart of Bridgestone’s 2050 strategy is the Bridgestone 3.0 Journey 2022 Integrated Report, available in full on its global website. It details the company’s progress and plans to enhance corporate value over the medium to long term by accelerating the transformation to a sustainable solutions company based on its E8 Commitment Axis (see below). It provides a unified look at Bridgestone’s value-creation process, merging business strategies with sustainability initiatives.

The world is still commercially driven at its core, meaning no free-market company can survive long with an out- of-whack balance sheet. However, social bottom lines count, and responsibility was a key element in Bridgestone’s leap into the mobility space, ensuring optimal utility and efficiency is extracted from any of the planet’s scarce resources used to manufacture their own, or anyone else’s, componentry. It also sets the company up well in terms of accountability. Make no mistake; if you thought data was king in the first two decades of the century, you haven’t seen anything yet. Data will be critical to maintaining social licences in a post-2050 world.

The suite of Webfleet telematic solutions at Brisbane showed the company defines ‘global’ as precisely that; it sees Australasia as a key market.

“We are a global organisation. We have a very strong footprint in Europe, where we are the No.1. In the US, we have a very large presence, and also in Asia- Pacific. Australia and New Zealand are two areas we are focusing on. We have a strong team here, and there is a strong pull from the customers of Bridgestone to be able to give them full solutions.

”You can see here… dash cams and video telematics, connectivity, efficiency and safety to prevent driver distractions and help with other areas like insurance claims. Our Mobile Workforce tablet launched here soon will enhance the suite further.

“The uptake of our mobility offerings has been very positive, with 30% to 40% growth in Latin America and significant growth in Africa. We’re now focusing on Australia and New Zealand.”

The Bridgestone E8 pillars

  • Ecology – sustainable tyre technologies
  • Energy – realisation of a carbon-neutral mobility society
  • Efficiency – maximise productivity through the advancement of mobility
  • Emotion – inspiring excitement and spreading joy to the world of mobility
  • Empowerment – contribute to a society that ensures accessibility and dignity for all
  • Extension – non-stop mobility and innovation that keeps people and the world moving ahead
  • Economy – maximising the economic value of mobility and business operations
  • Ease – bring comfort and peace of mind to mobility life

“E8 commitment is focused on adding social value as well as customer value in a sustainable way. Sustainability has to be something that accounts to all of the key social pillars, not just how you manufacture the product.”
– Raj Bjaj, Bridgestone VP for mobility solutions