Quality and Customer Value

  • Facebook
  • tumblr

Mission

Creating Customer Value & Trust
To create a global framework in collaboration with all related Bridgestone entities and stakeholders to proactively identify, prioritize and address customer quality issues
in keeping with the intentions of our founder to:
“Serve Society with Superior Quality”

Quality is essential for the safety and satisfaction of consumers. The Bridgestone Group established the Quality Mission Statement to engage every employee in contributing to building quality products, services and solutions that exceed customer expectations.

The Quality Mission Statement enables the future direction of the Bridgestone Group, based on the spirit of its founder, Shojiro Ishibashi, by advancing the Bridgestone DNA and proud heritage of quality and continual improvement to new generations of employees.

Through employee engagement with continuous improvement and innovation, the Bridgestone Group strives to achieve superior quality throughout the entire value chain, across all businesses and globally.

Group Global CQO Origanization (2016)

Bridgestone’s determination to position quality at the heart of its business began with the founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s belief that providing quality in business and products is the only way to serve society and sustain business success. Early in the 60’s, under the guidance of the founder, Bridgestone launched a restructuring plan based on Deming principles to enhance overall management systems with a primary focus on quality.

The hand-drawn image below, representing the new concept enhancing the importance of quality in all the aspects of the business, was used by Kanichiro Ishibashi (appointed as president in 1963) when he activated the restructuring plan in 1968.

In 1968, Bridgestone earned global recognition of their commitment to total quality management by receiving the prestigious Deming Prize for excellence in quality management. The culture of total quality management (TQM) is rooted in this success achieved fifty years ago. Since that time, the society and the Bridgestone Group have undergone considerable changes, but the Group has remained firmly committed to a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Today, quality is not a department at the Bridgestone Group, it is an outcome of thoughtful planning and execution. It is not only a product-related requirement, but is a value at the base of any business.

Across the Group, it is always looking for ways to strengthen its culture of quality:

  • The Quality Mission Statement has been deployed to the entire organization globally involving all levels from top executives to the newly hired staff. Awareness programs and e-learnings have been carried out to underline the active role that everyone at all levels within the corporation has to achieve the Group’s mission to Create Customer Value & Trust.
  • A great importance is also given to quality education across the organization. Specific training modules are delivered to increase competencies with regards to quality tools and capabilities. Lean Six Sigma program or statistical quality control (SQC) are also implemented in the different strategic business units (SBU).
  • As a company, the Group also looks at ways to actively prevent risks along the value chain. One important activity is related to the manufacturing process, where Bridgestone developed a set of standardized quality requirements (called Process Quality Assurance Reference List: PQARL) as a result of global best practices to prevent risks and deliver the highest quality tire products and services. In 2020, the Group expanded the scope of these PQARL requirements to include the diversified products, bicycles, sporting goods and internal manufacturing business categories. The Group will continue improving activities in these categories in 2021.

Quality assurance system

Quality assurance aligned with external quality management systems

The Bridgestone Group requires all manufacturing locations in which Bridgestone has 50% or more share ratio to achieve and maintain ISO 9001 quality management system certification. As of March 31, 2021, 151 sites are targeted for ISO 9001 certification, and 151 sites are certified (100.0 %).
In addition the Bridgestone Group embraces both internal and external audits and certifications such as IATF 16949 and VDA 6.1 so that the Group can ensure superior quality our customers demand.

Global quality governance

The Bridgestone Group has established the Global CQO Organization, including the global chief quality officer (G-CQO), together with SBU CQOs. All CQOs have responsibility for product, service and solution quality in their markets with the aim of guiding and supporting the organization in promoting the quality activities, which include providing safe and high-performing products to ensure customer value and trust through innovation and continuous improvement.

To further pursue this aim, in 2017, the Bridgestone Group established the Global Quality Management Committee (GQMC) to strengthen the global governance with regards to the deployment of Quality Mission consistently across all SBUs.
GQMC works as an effective committee to set the global quality direction and strategy, identify global quality challenges and define solutions leveraging on global expertise and resources. In addition the Bridgestone Group has established an auditing framework (internal/external) to continuously assess the effectiveness of systems and processes to deliver the highest quality of products and solutions to its own customers.

Global CQO Organization

Group Global CQO Origanization

Quality assurance across the value chain

Entire value chain

Entire value chain

The Bridgestone Group is committed to creating Customer Value & Trust by continuously enhancing the quality of products and services across the entire value chains consistently with Quality Mission Statement principles.

Quality assurance in development process

To ensure the quality of design and development, the Bridgestone Group standardizes and continuously enhances its processes at global level in all technology centers.

Bridgestone leverages the structure and collaboration outlined in the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process, a structure that includes critical tasks from concept approval through production. The aim is to create a product quality plan for developing and manufacturing products that mechanizes the customer requirements.

The aim for quality assurance in development process is successful delivery and continuous identification of opportunities to improve and optimize the development processes in all product development groups. The scope is covering the entire development process from product, process and manufacturing technology.

In all SBUs at global level, development processes are structured in a gate-based approach. At each gate, all specified criteria must be met to assure achievement of development targets (including risk analysis) and final product safety and quality.

Quality assurance in raw materials procurement

The Bridgestone Group procures raw materials and outsourced products from a wide range of suppliers.
In order to maintain and continuously enhance the quality assurance throughout the value chain, the Group is applying the highest quality standards to all suppliers and business partners (including Tier-N) by requesting their compliance to the purchase contract and our Global Sustainable Procurement Policy.
In addition, the Group has been able to establish Group-wide approval criteria for raw materials and outsourced products to ensure superior quality.

The Group is proud of the great relationship it has built up with the suppliers, but it is also careful to continuously monitor the quality of goods received, conduct supplier audits and pursue other initiatives to ensure suppliers maintain solid quality assurance systems and products consistently meet the quality requirements.

For more details, see “Procurement.”

Quality assurance in outsourcing

The Global Business Support and SBU are strengthening cooperation on outsourced products to improve global quality assurance.

At global level, the Group continuously works together with its partners and suppliers to enhance overall quality in outsourcing and provide superior quality to the customers. This includes supplier development towards higher quality standards and criteria without losing focus on assuring early detection of any potential issue.

Quality assurance in manufacturing

The Bridgestone Group strives to continuously improve the quality in the global manufacturing processes by introducing innovative technologies and industry leading products in order to meet continuously growing customer expectations.

The Group seeks to identify potential quality risks at the production plants and proactively implement preventive actions using failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) quality assurance methods, and focusing on Critical to Quality (CTQ) inputs.

The Group has also defined a set of global quality assurance requirements for each process and conducted regular assessments to identify the required investments needed to meet these requirements.

Furthermore, the Group has a system to share best practices and continuous improvement activities at global level, in order to ensure that all facilities are aligned on the state-of-the-art in the manufacturing processes.

Promotion of prevention activities

The Bridgestone Group promotes quality assurance based on ISO standards in all value chain (product strategy, development, procurement, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and service).
Especially during development and production, the Group carries out advanced product quality planning (APQP), design failure mode and effect analysis (D-FMEA) and process failure mode and effects analysis (P-FMEA) implementation, and conducts regular design reviews by cross functional team at each stage of the gate process.
The Group also conducts continuous monitoring of manufacturing process quality as well as final product evaluation in order to meet regulatory and customer and our internal requirements.

In addition, the Group continuously monitors the quality KPIs in each SBU to trigger actions at early stage and continuously exchanges best practices and new learnings among all locations to prevent reoccurrence of experienced concerns.

Market initiatives

VOC/VOB management

As part of the quest to transform from a “product out” to a “market in” business model, the Bridgestone Group has sought to better utilize the Voice of Customers (VOC) and Voice of Business Partners (VOB) and incorporate this management system into the drive to increase customer value. Each of the markets manages VOC/VOB to suit local conditions and optimize the products, services and solutions the Group offers to its customers.

In Japan, the customer summary system collects VOC from the Customer Communication Center and other relevant departments and shares that information to help improve the quality of the products and services.
Bridgestone Americas and Bridgestone EMIA have used commercial market segmentation surveys and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to help ascertain the degree of consumer satisfaction with tire patterns and devise future product plans. Specific customer value indicators (CVI) have also proved to be useful practical indicators.
In the Asia Pacific region, Bridgestone conducts periodic market research on competing products to aid new product development.

The Group is determined to continue building a solution-driven business model, and strengthening VOC/VOB management, because it firmly believes these activities will help it improve product, service and solution quality and create added value for the customers.

Product / service monitoring

Utilization of market quality information

The Bridgestone Group continuously collects and analyzes data related to the markets (including failures and incidents) involving all businesses around the world.

The Group’s tires are driven on roads worldwide, so the Group is careful to collect data from any available source and promptly share the information it collects and the results of tire analysis with all relevant departments to help improve tire quality.

For example, in cases of passenger car tire wear, the Group proactively collects information by meeting with distributors, analyzing the actual tire, inspecting used tires, and visiting actual markets. It also puts in place systems to analyze trends and promptly identify potential concerns giving it the possibility to implement actions before having any issue in the market. Bridgestone has promoted early detection of potential problems requiring global and rapid market action, and created a rapid and accurate risk management system designed to facilitate accurate judgments and market action.

Emergent response procedure

As part of the Global Quality Governance, a CQO structure is implemented at global level. Each SBU has defined and implemented an effective system for assessing market information and promptly identifying potential concerns. Each SBU conducts appropriate analysis and investigations; in case of necessity, appropriate market response actions are implemented in accordance with our standards and local applicable laws.

Each SBU has strict implementation procedures in place in case something needs to be done locally.
The Bridgestone Group also shares the information globally and strives to prevent recurrence within the group.

The Group continues to nurture an attentive quality and safety culture so that it can offer consumers the highest quality products that they can use safely and comfortably.

Product recall information

In the unlikely event that a product recall occurs, the Bridgestone Group discloses information by notifying the following local sites and public institutions:

Japan (in Japanese)

United States

China (in Chinese)

Product safety objectives/goals

The Bridgestone Group aims to innovate sustainable mobility with advanced technologies and solutions. The Group also aims to provide products and services that support safe and secure movement through the evolution of mobility. For this purpose, a robust Quality Management System effectively implemented in all SBUs and across the value-chain, is in place in order to fully meet our customers’ expectations. Assuring delivery of safe products and services is at the top of Bridgestone priorities.

The Bridgestone Group will promote its unique solutions business platform "Bridgestone T&DPaaS (Bridgestone Tire and Diversified Products as a Solution)" and contribute to the evolving mobility society.

For more details, see “Mobility” and “Safety Mission of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.”

New quality assurance system utilizing big data

As a part of the Bridgestone Group’s Quality Assurance System evolution, the Group is now promoting Prediction Technology based on big data leading to higher value for the customers and more efficient Bridgestone internal processes. This information provides useful insights to activate actions at an early stage, improve upstream processes by reducing variations and predict and enhance product and solutions performances. Finally, by gathering market data and customer feedback, the deployment of prediction technology will allow co-creating higher value for the customers and society.

Human resource development to promote quality

Passing on manufacturing technology and tradition

The Bridgestone Group believes it is vitally important to pass on its traditional commitment to quality and high level of acquired skill to the next generations. Quality and product safety trainings are delivered to all employees utilizing various tools and platforms (e.g., e-learning, lecture programs). For the operators and inspectors who require specific knowledge and techniques for their work, the Group conducts training programs including quality control.

When the Group implemented the Quality Mission Statement in 2016, specific persons were assigned to train all employees across the Group’s global operations. Today, all Group departments continue to conduct activities based on the Statement and promote improvements that help build new customer value and trust. These activities and best practices are shared with other operations to raise the caliber of quality-related activities across the Bridgestone Group.

Moving forward, the Group intends to continue developing human resources across the Group to help ensure customers receive the highest quality products, services and solutions.

Quality assurance for solutions

Quality activities for the solutions business

The Bridgestone Group’s global commitment to quality is instrumental to supporting the journey toward its vision of becoming a sustainable solutions company that provides social and customer value. This commitment is clearly stated in the Group's Mid-Long Term Business Strategy and demonstrated by its efforts to co-create value with customers, partners and society overall.

In recent years, the Group's quality activities for its solutions business have increased in importance. Beginning in 2017 in collaboration with the Pilbara Mining Solution Center in Australia, the Bridgestone Group structured a quality management system for the solutions service network. More recently, in 2019, the acquisition of Webfleet Solutions provided a framework to reinforce the global quality management system to expand and accelerate the quality activities on the new business domains.

Construction development and operation of the Solution Business Management Guideline to realize Bridgestone T&DPaaS

In 2020, the Bridgestone Group developed the Solution Business Management Guideline to enable Bridgestone T&DPaaS and support the Group’s journey to become a sustainable solutions company. The guideline will lead to the establishment of strong quality management systems in each business unit at the global level to enhance value creation along the development and operation process for the solution business model. Through the Guideline, the Bridgestone Group aims to continuously enhance value to customers and society in alignment with its strategy.

TQM activity

Bridgestone’s DNA, TQM activity

The Bridgestone Group's long-standing TQM (Total Quality Management) activities are essential to support its unique, core solutions platform, "Bridgestone T&DPaaS." TQM activities have been incorporated into the Group's culture and growth for over 50 years. Employees from all over the world, who have passed rigorous regional qualifiers, have gathered at a global TQM conference for sharing best practices every year since 2010.

However, in 2020 during the pandemic, the Group shifted to using a variety of technologies such as remote work and web conferencing to share details on various TQM activities as it continued to increase employees’ awareness of the importance of quality.

Global TQM conference in 2019

Other activity

Quality assurance under COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the business, special attention was paid to addressing quality assurance, given the necessity to adapt operations and apply preventive measures to protect teammates and prevent the spread of infection.

Keeping in mind the Bridgestone Group’s priority to deliver safe and high-value products, services and solutions to customers, a global initiative was launched to ensure that high-quality standards were maintained. The Group also adjusted production volumes and resources to adapt to the variable market demand.

Sustainability