Bridgestone Corporation, founded in 1931 and headquartered in Japan, is a multinational auto and truck parts manufacturer and the world's largest manufacturer of tire and rubber products. It employs over 145 thousand people across the company group, operates in more than 150 countries around the world, and generated revenues of more than 3.8 billion Yen in 2015. Production information websites split by product area, such as tires and golf, complement the company’s global website (http://www.bridgestone.com), which provides group-wide investor relations and news.
As Bridgestone overhauled its global website in December 2014, it needed to resolve website performance. According to Mr. Daisuke Baba, Manager of PR Department Section 3 at Bridgestone Corporation, over 95% of traffic to the Bridgestone global website comes from outside of Japan, and comes evenly from each of the regions. However, with the company’s web server based in Asia, anyone accessing the website from overseas experienced slower page displays. Plus, Bridgestone planned to use a responsive web design. While this would optimize display for each visitor regardless of their device, the design requires larger file sizes. Moreover, the company expected to display a larger number of images on the new website to make it more visually appealing. These two website changes would further exacerbate web site performance.
Bridgestone needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:
Going with the Widest Geographic Coverage
To improve website performance, Bridgestone decided to take advantage of a content delivery network (CDN). It selected Akamai because of the geographic coverage of its global network and Aqua Ion solution. "We felt that Akamai could provide the highest quality of service because of the number and location of its edge servers around the world, which is vastly superior to any of its competitors’ networks," explains Mr. Nobuhiro Tarumi, PR Department Section 3, Bridgestone Corporation.
Boosting Site Performance
After implementing Aqua Ion, Bridgestone saw website performance improve by about 30% on average for website visitors from outside of Japan. While a number of factors contributed to this improvement, Bridgestone feels Akamai's network and solution played a big role. "Although the size of files on our newly launched website were three times larger than those prior to the overhaul, testing by Akamai showed a much faster download speed," says Tarumi.
Delivering Content Based on IP Address
While the global Bridgestone website displays product summary information, each Bridgestone group company around the world maintains its own product information website providing more detailed information. Rather than forcing website visitors to navigate from the global website to the relevant group company website, Bridgestone decided to dynamically display the most relevant information based on the website visitor’s geographic location. It was able to achieve this goal by taking advantage of Akamai’s ability to serve content based on IP address. Bridgestone has found that website visitors are finding desired information faster, and was able to achieve this without having to develop new functionality internally.
Serving Mobile Users
Since launching the new website, Bridgestone chose to use an additional Akamai service: Adaptive Image Compression, which dynamically compresses images to an optimal size based on the website visitor’s mobile network access speed and device type. After introducing this solution, on average, testing by Akamai showed that the size of images for iPhones was reduced by approximately 65%, and Bridgestone saw image display times improve by about 10%.
Extending the Partnership
As Bridgestone continues to pursue the goal of becoming "a truly global company,” it intends to further collaborate with Akamai to address its needs. “We hope to consult with Akamai to operate an even better website in the future. We will consider how we can use Akamai’s services to address our needs, such as improving website security.” concludes Mr. Tarumi.
Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.