The past couple of years has been an exercise in adapting to a new normal. And while that may never actually feel normal, there’s little else we can do but work with what we got. In 2021, that means dealing with supply challenges and bad news: That’s going to continue into 2022. It’s normal now.
The good news is your not alone. While you’re fleet has been fighting supply challenges and juggling shifting OEM order deliveries, so too have those same OEMs and suppliers. And also like you: They’re adapting to it to eke out more product. Take Bridgestone for example. During its Core Tire Business meeting held virtually last month, Scott Damon, chief operating offer for Bridgestone Americas, noted that the tire manufacturer is putting a strong focus on commercial tires in 2022.
Our sister publication, Tire Review, was on-hand to cover the virtual event and here’s what Damon had to say:
“Next year, we’ll increase TBR supply by an incremental 600,000 units, half of which are being imported. Domestically, we’re looking at ways we can engineer more flexibility into our manufacturing process, and this goes for our tire plants in both consumer and commercial.”
North America makes up 40% of Bridgestone’s overall truck, bus and radial (TBR) tire business. So getting more rolling black rubber into the market is just as important to them as it is to fleets where tire costs still jockey for the infamous position as the biggest expense.
Focusing on fleets
Commercial carriers are going to see a stronger focus from Bridgestone going forward according to Paolo Ferrari, the company’s president and CEO. Fleet management, specifically related to tires, is going to be a target for Bridgestone acquisitions in the near future.
Again, here’s Tire Review with comments from Ferrari:
“More and more, fleets are becoming a key part of an evolving ecosystem of connected vehicles and connected platforms. Fleets will be connected through a fleet management solutions platform, and I think our investments will be good for you guys participating in this ecosystem of platforms so that we all can connect more with our customers and serve them better.”
This becomes crystal clear when you take a look at the past year-plus of partnership and acquisition announcements that Bridgestone has released. Here are a few:
May 2021: Webfleet Solutions launches video telematics solution (Webfleet Solutions is a telematics provider that is part of Bridgestone.)
And the “probably should have seen this trend coming” Sept 2019: Bridgestone acquires TomTom’s digital fleet solutions business (For a $1-trillion-plus price tag.)
Ferrari pointed to Bridgestone’s latest telematics conquest: the acquisition of Azuga Holdings Inc. and the Azuga fleet management platform, bringing together a grand total of 6,000 fleet customers and 250,000 connected vehicles under Azuga and Bridgestone’s other connected platforms, allowing the company to collect data to manage the efficiency of fleets.
If your eyebrow just arched, it’s worth heading over to Tire Review to read Ferrari’s comments in totality.