Strategic Plan Assessment:
Within an industry I examine the key players to understand their indivdual strategies; I compare this to my clients strategic plan and offer suggestions based on where their competitors are heading. Knowlege of competitor strategies can allow a client to modify their own strategy to potentially outflank others
I examined the key players in tire manufacture (Michelin, Bridgestone and Continental) to understand their respective stategies.
Michelin: Michelin reorganized its filing into Recherche & Technologie and Concept & Development. The former group does primarily tire and formulation development and manufacturing improvement as well as tire monitoring/sensing including electric connections, RFID and piezoelectric devices while Concept & Development does work beyond tires including the integration of tire to the wheel, suspension, struts, shock absorbers, brakes,electrical and fuel systems, electric steering (drive by wire), and long fibers for reinforcement. Because few inventors are in both groups, it appears this is a separate unit with a much wider focus than the R&D group. Strategy is to continue to optimize the tire development as well as real time automotive tire monitoring; long term is to integrate the tire into the wheel and suspension system (move up the value chain).
Bridgestone: The portfolio includes tire and rubber products (80%) as well as sporting goods, flow valves, pipes, hoses, water purification, roofing, earthquake damping, concrete, safety lighting. Tire investment has focused primarily on tire formulation, design, molding and manufacturing, steel cord and the auxiliary areas of runflat tires and tire monitoring
•Adjacent effort in engine isolation mounts
•No significant effort in the broader area of suspension, or brake control
•Areas of recent focus have been safety tires (run flat), tread design, tire monitoring
Unlike Michelin, Bridgestone has focused its tire business on the tire with little effort in integration of the tire with the suspension or braking system
Their strategy appears to focus on tire and design modifications(tread, monitoring, run flat) and to expand the business in other areas (displays, batteries, medical etc.).
Continental: having undergone numerous acquisitions, the automotive portfolio includes tires, brakes, sensors, air springs, monitoring fuel/emission/exhaust and control of an automobile.
Tire effort (rubber formulation, tire design, cord iterations) is nearly dormant •Little or no effort in the areas of run flat or linking the tire/wheel suspension, or tread design
•Areas of recent focus have been tire monitoring including pressure, “ride”, yaw and the link of this to an automotive monitoring and control systems comfort, safety and reliability.
Strategy is the use tires as a cash cow with minimum investment and focus on comfort, safety and reliability; future development into sensors, monitoring and control of driving. Safety and environmentlly friendly control (low fuel consumption, reduced pollutants).
Overall Michelin has the most robust and visionary strategy for tires, Bridgestone's focus is the tire itself and dynamic monitoring while Continental has focused away the art of making tires to monitoring them for safety and reliability.