TomTom Telematics, now Webfleet Solutions, was purchased earlier this year by Bridgestone. MHD sits down with Christopher Chisman-Duffy, Director of Sales for Australia and New Zealand at the company to find out what’s instore for the future of the business.
Technology is driving efficiencies and productivity levels across many organisations and sectors. According to the Logistics, Supply Chain and Transportation 2023 report by Forbes Insights, nearly two-thirds of logistics executives say they expect technology to deliver significant productivity gains.
Of those surveyed, 53 percent of respondents said they expect technology to enhance the whole of the customer experience, with solutions like artificial intelligence, telematics and machine learning noted as major contributors.
According to Christopher Chisman-Duffy, Director of Sales for Australia and New Zealand at WebFleet Solutions, the motivation behind Bridgestone’s acquisition of the leading telematics company was to keep abreast with digital innovation taking place across the entire transport and logistics arena.
“The digitalisation of our industry is at the forefront of Bridgestone’s plans for growth, and the acquisition of our organisation is a crucial part of that growth,” Christopher says.
Webfleet Solutions is a leading provider of digital fleet products with a product range covering connected vehicles for safer driving, improving productivity and optimising uptime for personal and commercial mobility. “What started as a tracking business now delivers so much more value through technology,” Christopher says.
At the beginning of October, what was TomTom Telematics became Webfleet Solutions, and this change of name has a significant history, Chris says. “Twenty years ago, we launched our Webfleet fleet management solution from our original office in Leipzig, Germany. Thomas Schmidt, the current CEO of Webfleet Solutions headed up this business and created a leading organisation in using cloud and internet technologies to help fleets and companies with commercial trucks, vans and cars. So, we are going back to a brand and reputation we built a very long time ago,” Chris says.
According to Chris, Bridgestone was investing heavily in the digital space and has come up with some truly innovative features. “Bridgestone has been developing their own mobility platform that features live tyre pressure data, presenting a number of safety benefits. They wanted to create an integrated solution, an all-encompassing world-class mobility offering. Instead of building that capability inhouse, which could have taken a number of years. They decided to purchase TomTom Telematics – immediately bringing them up to speed on the leading technology in mobility solutions,” he says.
Creating a more extensive mobility offering will give Bridgestone and Webfleet Solutions customers information that goes much further than live tyre pressure data. “Now we can reveal where the vehicle is at any one time, what speed it is travelling at, where a safe place to stop would be or where the nearest vehicle that can help is located,” Chris says.
This also helps organisations who operate on a service level agreement. “Take a food delivery for example. We can provide live data on the temperature of the produce. If this drops down, then the driver can do something about it before they arrive at the destination and the product is ruined,” Chris says.
Combining a digital fleet business with Bridgestone’s tyre expertise and global service network creates an opportunity that accelerates the company’s efforts to become a key partner in the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) landscape with leading tyre products and services, according to Chris.
“Bridgestone gives us the perfect opportunity to provide the whole solution to our commercial vehicle customers. We can provide a more diverse offering and being part of such a huge corporation gives us the an even bigger reach to develop more innovative solutions,” Chris says.
Webfleet Solutions provide services to a broad spectrum of customers, from plumbers with maybe five to ten vans to bus companies with more than 12,000 vehicles. Serving more than 50,000 customers with vehicles driving in 100 countries and 1.2 million mobility and fleet management subscriptions.