Commercial vehicle tyre suppliers are increasingly required to be multifaceted in their approach. Following its acquisition of TomTom Telematics in 2019 (now known as Webfleet Solutions), Bridgestone’s transition from tyre producer to mobility solutions provider with increasingly integrated approaches to fleet services moved up several gears. Demand for fleet-based mobility grows year-on-year, the tyre manufacturer says, with fleet managers demanding reliable and innovative services to maximise their effectiveness and efficiency. Webfleet Solutions has allowed Bridgestone to support business process streamlining with seamless end-to-end systems. These include transport management systems, on-board cameras, and route optimisation.
Far from there being one trump card to keep commercial fleets happy and content, Bridgestone believes there are a number of compelling factors that combine to keep its customers on the right road. Bridgestone’s commercial sales director Greg Ward tells Tyres & Accessories that a number of factors combine to make Bridgestone a top proposition to commercial fleets. The manufacturer has invested in digital mobility solutions, while its latest tyres for the segment introduce improved fuel efficiency and durability characteristics.
It’s now more than two months since the European Union applied anti-dumping duties on a range of truck and bus tyres manufactured in China, and during this time Bridgestone has observed a “strong uplift in demand” within the UK retreading industry. With the market “showing signs of a significant upturn in fortunes,” the company behind the Bandag retreading brand believes a “continued investment in its range of products is beginning to reap dividends.”
Bridgestone’s largest Bandag franchise, Bulldog in Bourne, Lincolnshire is a central pillar in Bridgestone’s UK Total Tyre Care truck and bus tyre strategy, and as such has been a target for ongoing investment. Most recently, Bridgestone has installed the BASys casing and production control system, digitally linking the tripartite facility and tracking the journey of retreads through the manufacturing process. This joins the latest piece of retread production equipment, the latest generation Bandag extruder builder the 9110ES, which was installed in 2016, and is now fully operational. Tyres & Accessories visited the Bulldog site to see the latest upgrades in action, and how Bulldog intends to capitalise on the current moment of what Bridgestone retread development manager for the North region (UK, Ireland, and the Nordic region) Terry Salter terms a “golden period” for retreading.
Bridgestone says its Lincolnshire retreading facility played “a huge role” in its latest fleet contract win. Leading haulage company Maxi Haulage agreed the fleet deal with the tyre manufacturer, coinciding with the 10 year anniversary of Bridgestone’s acquisition of Bulldog in Bourne, which boasts an output of roughly 50:50 mould cure to pre-cure. As a result of this ratio, the company says the operation stands out in the historically mould cure dominated UK retreading market.