NEW YORK (April 22, 2008) — Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) commercial tire dealers can expect many benefits from Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions (BBTS), the result of the recent merger of its commercial tire operations with its Bandag Inc. retreading unit, according to Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc.
He discussed the merged operations in front of a crowd of about 1,000 commercial tire dealers, truck stop operators and company associates during the BFS Bizcon 12 commercial tire conference April 21-22, in New York.
“You asked for it. We listened,” Mr. Emkes said.
Bridgestone/Firestone said its dealers called for more integration of its commercial tire operations, more field sales people and more fleet customers.
The merger and reorganization of the sales and marketing personnel involved “flattening” the organizational structure to address dealers' needs, according to company officials.
BBTS also divided its four sales regions in the U.S. and Canada into eight regions, each with a regional general manager, in an effort to get closer to its dealers and fleet customers. The company also created the posts of director of strategic channels to handle national fleets, truck stops and original equipment accounts, and a director of strategic distribution to develop distribution strategies for Bridgestone and Bandag dealers.
During the next 90 days the combined sales forces will undergo training so that former BFS and former Bandag salespeople “will be indistinguishable,” according to Art Campagnoni, vice president of North American commercial sales.
The company said its overall goal is to drive fleet business to its dealers.
BFS-owned GCR Tire Centers, Tire Distribution Systems Inc. and White Tire dealership chains will come under one management umbrella in BBTS and the Bridgestone, Firestone and Dayton brands will maintain their individual brand images and market tiers.
“The Bandag brand, as a franchise, will remain independent” of the other brands and will complement the other brands, officials told attendees.