Bridgestone to expand role of Firestone brand
Tokyo – Bridgestone Corp’s drive toward “Dan Totsu” – becoming the “undisputed world No. 1 tire and rubber company” – will include an expanded role for the Firestone brand globally and more streamlined corporate structure, the company revealed recently.
In a presentation made public 16 Oct, Bridgestone outlined its mid-term management plan for 2016 to 2020, saying it intends to accelerate the pace of its management reforms and increase its focus on the strategic measures outlined in the plan.
Bridgestone said it will focus on three key issues: cultivating global corporate culture; developing human resources capable of global management; and upgrading the global management structure.
Under the latter of these, Bridgestone disclosed it recently restructured its tire business into four strategic business units from six, combining its Middle East/Africa/Turkey business into its European unit (including Russia) and combining its Asia Pacific and China activities into one business unit.
The other two units are Japan and the Americas.
Bridgestone did not elaborate on any personnel changes associated with these changes nor disclose sales or earnings expectations for the new arrangements.
The company also noted it is expanding its diversified products businesses division, in part by incorporating more joint manufacturing ventures in specific product areas.
Regarding the Firestone brand, Bridgestone said it is looking to grow it into a global brand from its role as a “strong regional brand.”
To this end, the company intends to establish a global brand management/governance structure that will lead to further global business expansion. The company did not quantify its revenue or earnings expectations for this move but did note the brand is active in both tire and non-tire business areas.
Bridgestone also stressed it intends to accelerate global acceptance and value of the Bridgestone brand through global advertising and its role as a sporting events sponsor, starting with its extended Olympics partnership and including motorsports, golf and other opportunities.
The company also noted in its presentation the need for third tier brands on a regional basis. It mentioned Dayton in North America as an example.
In the areas of technology and business management, Bridgestone disclosed plans to upgrade its research and development assets in Japan and establish “solutions business” companies for the mining and agricultural equipment end markets.
Bridgestone management did not disclose specific financial expectations for the coming few years, but did say the firm’s “qualitative goals” include securing both growth and profitability and outlined the following goals:
Return on assets of 6 percent; operating profit of 10 percent (including a minimum 10-percent target for each business unit); and a return on equity of 12 percent.