Bridgestone South Africa’s transformation journey has seen dramatic structural changes as the leading tyre manufacturer announced a shift from a Level 7 to Level 4 Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) certification.

In 2017, significant leadership changes led the company into a hard and long-overdue conversation about diversity and inclusion in its Sales, Manufacturing and Corporate and business units.
“We did everything in our power to live up to our commitment towards real diversity and inclusion, not just in terms of race and gender, but a diversity of culture, skills, and perspectives,” says Nokwanda Madondo, HR Executive at Bridgestone South Africa. “It has taken us a lot of self-reflection and hard work and we are on our way to making diversity an integral part of our daily operations.

“We were not looking for compliance targets, but to live up to the Bridgestone values. We are very excited at the results and in our ability to have achieved this level 4 status earlier than we had planned. We celebrated for a brief moment, but quickly turned our minds to maintaining and deepening this process. Our focus now lies in the work ahead to sustain and build on this status,” she says.

The certification, which is valid until 09 September 2020, makes Bridgestone currently the only tyre manufacturer in South Africa to have reached this level during the present qualifying period, the most sought-after B-BBEE status in the industry at the moment. This achievement now allows the company to be eligible for new and long-awaited business opportunities particularly in specific markets and channels where B-BBEE codes are and continue to be even more stringent, in terms of supplier eligibility.
Since 2017, the company was able to improve its status, mainly by embarking on an aggressive human capital drive, business operation remodelling and identifying opportunities that were not previously recognised.

“One of the most important assignments was to evolve our internal human resources from a traditional personnel and payroll department into a HR business partnership focused on centres of excellence which enabled support to Sales and Manufacturing reorganisation projects that also spearheaded and led to the roll-out of leadership, culture change and transformation and talent development initiatives,” says Madondo. “We are also conducting internal audits and reviews to ensure we remain competitive and relevant in the market to be able to attract and retain the best talent while developing a comprehensive, modern talent management system.”

During our executive search process, we focused on bringing leaders that possess a good balance of diverse competencies and a depth of skills and experience in cross-functional areas and from various diverse backgrounds. We believe that, through this team, our organisation will be able to navigate through current storms and constraints impacting the Tyre Sector and Manufacturing Industry as whole given current state of SA economy.

“Bridgestone strives to drive economic inclusion from all sectors of society in line with our company ethos ‘serving society with superior quality’,” says Jacques Fourie, CEO at Bridgestone South Africa says. “We made a commitment in 1936 to plant and grow our business in Southern Africa and make a difference in our local communities. This new achievement further entrenches our national footprint in the market, and we are excited at all the new opportunities that we can now explore in expanding Bridgestone.”

About Bridgestone in Europe, Middle East and Africa

Bridgestone South Africa is subsidiary of Bridgestone EMEA.

We’re the EMEA business of the world’s largest tyre and rubber company. For almost 90 years, we’ve been providing the confidence to get people and goods where they need to go as conveniently as possible, without interruption.

Today, in a fast-changing world, we’re evolving to provide real solutions to the real problems our customers face. This is why Bridgestone EMEA is rapidly transforming from a premium tyre producer into a mobility solutions leader. We’re pioneering cutting-edge products and solutions with some of the industry’s most advanced factories, world-beating technologies and coveted partnerships. As our transformation journey continues, we’re working to shape the future of mobility.

We’re present in 38 countries in EMEA, employing more than 19,000 people. We have 15 tyre plants in the region, a major R&D centre, and a proving ground. We’re the largest R&D spender in our industry, investing around €800 million every year across the globe.