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We offer solution across all major segments, says Sunil Puri, Head - Commercial Business, Bridgestone India


With strict guidelines, the Government has allowed organizations to restart their business. What are the operational strategies you have adopted to commence your business, taking into consideration the safety concerns of the employees as well growth of the organization?
Bridgestone’s foremost priority has always been Safety. We were quick to take action when the pandemic first hit the country, our focus being on safeguarding our people and operations. When the country began to unlock, we started to ramp up in a phased manner. Both our manufacturing plants at Indore and Pune, warehouse operations were restarted in line with the permit and directives issued by Government Bodies. The Pandemic situation has steered us to look at new business segments, Technology adaptation & new business models, which has helped Bridgestone India to continue business & ensure that the operations both at Bridgestone and also our customers continue seamlessly. Various efforts to engage more with the customers have also been put in place to bring in healthy business continuity while prioritizing the health and safety of our teams.

The Government has allowed private miners participation in coal mining in India. How is this going to benefit your business?
While we are excited that Government has allowed Private participation in Mining, the benefits to the business growth will take 4 – 6 years as that’s the expected time frame to get all the necessary regulatory approvals & start of mining operations. Commercial Coal Mining will undoubtedly bring in more business avenues in the years to come. Bridgestone is already one of the major suppliers to many private players in this sector. With our global technical expertise and knowledge in this area, we will be able to partner with new customers coming into the Mining foray and provide them with our superior product offerings and solutions for this segment.
With the current Governments focus on reducing Coal imports, this move will offer a good boost to other associated industries like Steel & Power Plants. This will also create increased employment opportunities in these sectors. Bridgestone has solutions, and product offering for other segments such as Ports, Cranes amongst others, and this will have a positive impact on these sectors as well.

What are your offerings for the coal-mining sector?
While the mining sector uses both Bias and Radial tyres, Bridgestone offers a superior range of Radial tyres for this sector. We offer solution across all major segments like Mining, Ports, Tippers, Construction, Steel Plants, Mobile Cranes & other sectors. However, Mining does play a significant role in driving business due to high usage of large class dumpers & loaders. Our Radial tyres become preferred choice by customers for critical applications due to high durability, better traction, Low fuel consumption, higher loads, amongst others. All mines are different in terms of Strata, Haul Roads, Gradient, Climatic conditions, among others. We at Bridgestone understand the customer’s applications & with our consultative approach, we then work with our customers to understand their needs and provide them with a right solution, ensuring right tyres for their operational needs, which will be specific and unique to each customer based on their operations. To improve effieciences, we have a large product range to cater to the needs of private customers. In line with this, we have recently supplied the 2nd largest loader tyre in the world to one of the private players. We have a varied range of products for various specific applications, whether be in Dumpers, Tippers, Loaders, etc, to ensure operational efficiency to our customers.

Technology-enabled tyres embedded with sensors and IoTs are slowing finding footholds. What are the R&Ds conducted at your end in Smart tyre technology?
Bridgestone Corporation is a leader in advanced solutions and sustainable mobility and with this focus has developed a technology capable of estimating a wheel axle load and tyre wear condition by using newly developed sensors attached inside tyres that measure the change in a strain that occurs when a tyre makes contact with the road while in motion. This technology is unique to Bridgestone and the first of its kind in the world.
Technology will undoubtedly play a significant role in improving the tyre performance and add to productivity enhancement for our customers. Bridgestone group recently acquired “iTrack” which is a globally preferred provider of tyre management solutions for the off-the-road vehicle market. This technology provides customizable geofencing, speed alerts and more to help mining customers optimize their operations for increased productivity and profitability.
As such globally we are working towards becomes Mobility solutions partner. Bridgestone,with its Webfleet solution offering in the Commercial Tyre Business, has accelerated its digital transformation journey to provided advanced mobility solutions to its customers that includes TaaS and Fleet Management services.

How are you integrating Sustainability with your products?
Bridgestone India follows the Group policy on Sustainability which includes the 3 areas of Operation, Product & Services and Contributing towards our society. It helps us to achieve our prime objectives of being in Harmony with nature, Value Natural Resources & reduce CO2 emissions. We have imbibed this in our core philosophy, and this reflects in our product offerings, as well as in the way we manufacture them.
Bridgestone India aims to reduce 150,000 tons of CO2 emission in the next two decades. Usage of clean energy is key to Bridgestone’s sustainability goals. In sync with this under operations, our initiatives include Solar energy, Zero waste water discharge, Biomass boiler, etc, through which we have been able to reduce CO2 generation per RRT by 30% in last 5 years. For us in India, this is a step towards the company’s global long term commitment of achieving a 50% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050 and beyond.
Our products include Ecopia range of tyres under Passenger & Commercial segments which help reduce CO2 generation due to better rolling resistance. We also offer maintenance service in Commercial & Off-the-road segment which helps the fleets to improve the safety & operational efficiency.

Dealers are the vital link for success between the organization and the end-users. Please take us through your dealers’ network and the various education programs you conduct for them?
Bridgestone is a leading player in the Radial segment and for Bridgestone dealers play an important role in the value chain. They are our partners to offer our customer with Bridgestone’s superior range of products and service as an extended knowledge partner to provide technical know-how and support our customers on tyre related needs. To further enhance their technical and knowledge capability, we regularly conduct training programs, site visits, new product training, amongst other initiatives. As said earlier, they are a critical element in our value chain and provide us with customer feedback that helps us enhance our offerings to our customers and product development aspects as well. Bridgestone dealers are located in key areas to cater to the customers to provide full sales & service support in the various regions.

In light of the government decision to commercialize coal mining, is there a plan to revamp your production in anticipation of demand or to launch new OTR tyres in the market?Currently, we do not manufacture OTR Tyres in India. We import these tyres, cater to our customer needs, and demand across the various segment. Our Global supply chain is well equipped to manage this demand. For Bridgestone, it is very critical to keep on working on product development, and improvement as per the customer needs and in line with customer performance requirements. We believe in not only just supplying the Tyres but to be there working with our customers and partner with them to improve their operational efficiency through various initiatives. We keep our Global plants well informed on the developments in sectors to ensure we can service the business demand as it arises.

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