Bridgestone Asia Pacific powers up field customer service with Windows 8 and Windows Azure

SINGAPORE, March 13, 2014 – Microsoft Singapore today announced that Bridgestone Asia Pacific will be equipping its sales and technical engineers in the field with an agile, secure and intuitive Windows 8-based mobile cloud solution supported by Windows Azure. This deployment will enable Bridgestone to deliver better value to Singapore commercial fleet operators while creating greater efficiency with its mobile workforce.

Developed by Microsoft’s IT partner NCS, the mobility solution consists of a customized Windows 8 app called Bridgestone Toolbox Touch running on a ruggedized Windows 8 tablet and supported by Microsoft’s cloud platform Windows Azure. With a Windows 8 tablet, Bridgestone’s sales and technical engineers are now empowered with the tools and information they need to be more productive on-ground, as well as deliver better customer service.

Benjamin Chang, Assistant Manager of Sales and Marketing, Commercial Products, Bridgestone Asia Pacific said: “With the Bridgestone Toolbox Touch app, we expect to increase productivity across the board with the ability to inspect more vehicles with the same amount of time used before.”

This deployment will be kick-started with a pilot in Singapore, where the mobility solution will be rolled out to Bridgestone Singapore sales and technical engineers. Bridgestone will subsequently be bringing its new Microsoft-powered mobility solution across its international operations.

Going paperless and into the cloud
Bridgestone is one of the leading tire manufacturers globally and a household name producing tires for cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses and other vehicles and machineries. Typically, tire costs is one of the top three highest operational expenses for commercial fleet businesses such as bus operators. Optimal maintenance and usage of tires can produce significant cost-savings for commercial fleet businesses. As such, Bridgestone also offers a wide range of value-added services to commercial fleet businesses, where sales and technical engineers inspect tire usage on site and provide insights to optimize tire investment.

Tire inspection is typically a manual-based tedious task for Bridgestone’s sales and technical engineers; and commercial fleet customers alike. Conducted onsite, Bridgestone’s sales and technical engineers would record inspection data on paper forms when they visited the fleet operators, then return to the office to enter the data before creating and printing out customer reports – a time consuming process which hindered not just the company’s own productivity but also wasted their customers’ time. Customer data was also maintained separately by each consultant, generating silos of information which made it challenging to share information internally within the company and to obtain a comprehensive overview of the customer.

At the center of the mobility solution is Bridgestone Toolbox Touch, a touch-based Windows 8 app developed by NCS that fully replaces the paper-based processes the company’s sales and technical engineers had previously relied on to record inspection data. Windows 8 enables Bridgestone engineers to choose from a wide variety of tablets, an especially important consideration for their line of work as a ruggedized tablet is sometimes necessary to handle dust, humidity, and shock.

As a full-fledged operating system, Windows 8 runs most familiar productivity applications such as Microsoft Office without a hitch, eliminating the need for employees to carry around more than one device.

Powered in the back-end by Windows Azure, Bridgestone Toolbox Touch leverages many features offered by the Windows Azure cloud, including SQL Azure database, reporting services, virtual machine, storage and auto-backup, which provides the company the advantages of application extensibility, scalability, and most importantly, reliability, all within a familiar environment.

A key consideration for the rollout of a cloud-based mobile solution was security as Bridgestone dealt with private customer information. With Windows Azure, the company was assured that the solution complied with key industry standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2005, and that the solution incorporates security practices at the application and platform layers, giving peace of mind to developers and service administrators.

As part of the pilot, Bridgestone consultants in Singapore can today intuitively record inspection data, and when connected to the Internet, can access previous customer reports for follow-up. Additional customer reports are now generated in matters of minutes rather than days by the Windows Azure SQL Reporting Services, and can be simply emailed to the customer.

Thierry Jakircevic, Global Solution Service Manager, Bridgestone Corporation, said: “As an enterprise-grade system, Windows 8 offers a fast and fluid user experience with no compromise on security and manageability. As a pay-as-you-use platform, Windows Azure provides us scalability, robustness, and peace of mind. By combining these robust platforms into an effective, all-rounded solution, we are confident that we have a system that can quickly adapt to our changing needs in a cost-effective manner, and at a global scale.”

Harish Aitharaju, Server & Cloud Business Group Lead, Microsoft Singapore said: “Bridgestone Asia Pacific has created a world-class solution leveraging devices powered by Windows 8 and the applications running on Windows Azure cloud, showcasing how Microsoft solutions work hand-in-hand to power business innovation.”

Watch Bridgestone’s field consultants in action with their Windows 8 tablets loaded with Bridgestone Toolbox Touch. Please click here to read the full customer deployment case study.

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About Bridgestone Asia Pacific
Bridgestone is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. In the Asia Pacific region, Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., regional headquarters in Singapore, oversees the operations of tire production and sales facilities, and supplies its products across more than 25 over countries in the region. Bridgestone Asia Pacific plays a key role in facilitating this large and growing market as it contributes significantly to the entire Bridgestone Group. For more information, visit http://www.bridgestone-asiapacific.com/.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


Press Contacts:
Microsoft Singapore
Lina Marican
+65-9180-9215
a-limari@microsoft.com

IN.FOM (Partnering agency of Microsoft Singapore)
Raymond Lau
+65-9880-7111
raymond@infom.asia