With the quick snip of ceremonial scissors at a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony April 18, Bridgestone Americas celebrated the completion of its $17.3 million renovation to the company’s Akron Data Center.
Referred to as “backbone” of the tiremaker’s North America organization, the data facility has housed Bridgestone Americas’ core IT production systems, including hardware, servers and enterprise data, since 1968. Prior to the renovation, which began in July 2015, Bridgestone’s U.S. data systems were spread over five separate locations. They are now consolidated into the 10,000-square-foot Akron facility. As a result of the consolidation, the company hopes to reduce long-term costs, increase the security of its operational and proprietary data stores, and have ample room for growth.
Rob Olds, acting chief information officer of Bridgestone Americas, and Bill Thompson, chief operating officer, addressed the crowd of more than 100 guests and VIPs gathered outside the entrance of the newly renovated facility.
“With a business that is as large and as diverse as ours, the IT infrastructure is part of the backbone of what we do every day,” said Olds. “Our people, our processes, our systems, our hardware – everything works together with the business to keep things rolling. It is this building that is the hub of everything we process. Our point-of-sale transactions, our order placement, our global supply chain work, our customer management systems and so on – it’s a fundamental piece to how we operate and I’m proud to stand here today here in Akron, next to our Americas technical center, to celebrate the new life we’ve breathed back into this building.”
Olds said that the consolidation into a single location will help the tiremaker and its dealers in a number of ways. “First, the centralization [of data] provides us with better stability, more security and faster support for our business. Secondly, this allows us to better execute any of our disaster recovery plans. Third, this is considered a tier 3 data center and provides better reliability for our core systems. And lastly, it will help reduce costs and maximize the performance of our systems.”
According to Bridgestone Americas CEO Gordon Knapp in an interview with Tire Review at the event, the other data facilities will be repurposed with the consolidation into the single location with some of the IT teams relocating to Nashville.
“We truly are consolidating,” said Knapp. “I think there are 82 IT people who support this [Akron facility] and that’s 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so there’s a fairly large workforce. As I mentioned earlier, Akron is not involved in our moves to Nashville. That is going to be our headquarters and this is going to be our data headquarters.”