Industry News Commercial Business

Bridgestone ‘Security Incident’ Is Affecting Tire Dealers

Order Reprints
ret

Bridgestone dealers using the tiremaker's BASys tools are suffering from a drop in efficiency while the tiremaker assesses the damage from a cyberattack.

Bridgestone Americas Inc.’s “information security incident” has done more than just shut down the company’s new tire production in North America. Tire dealers using the company’s BASys tool have lost efficiencies in retreading and the ability to track casings and tires.

Zach Morris, director of manufacturing, fleet and safety for Tredroc Tire Services Inc., said the tire dealership uses BASys Manufacturing “in some form” at all 23 of the company’s locations, which include four Bandag retread shops and 19 commercial service locations.

BASys boils down to a barcode on every single tire. That barcode tracks the customer data, tread information and every specification. Fleets can also use BASys to track their tire data and status of inventories.

Bridgestone first became aware of its security incident on Feb. 27, and the next day that meant Tredroc’s retreading employees couldn’t access any of the information from those barcodes. For the hundreds of  tires “in process” and on the production floor, Morris said that meant finding a place to stack and store all of those tires — because it no longer knew what tread should be applied to the casing, or any of the tires other specs.

On Feb. 28, thinking Bridgestone’s system would only be inaccessible for a short time, Tredroc shut down its four retread plants.

Morris said the tire dealership stopped production for a day-and-a-half. But when it became apparent the system wasn’t coming back online immediately, Tredroc had to pivot.

“We’re in day three and day four of this,” and Morris said Tredroc has had to resort to old-style methods — tracking tires with paper and pen. They’re hand writing tickets with the barcode number, and eventually will have to enter that information into BASys when it’s online again.

The adjustment has dramatically decreased Tredroc’s efficiency, Morris said — by anywhere from 50% to 70%.

He said the tire dealership has met Bridgestone and Bandag’s standard of producing 1.5 tires per man hour, but this week, production has dropped to less than one tire for every man hour.

"I'm sure that we will have some more issues if this doesn't get resolved in the next few days, but the result is it is a very slow process," he said.

And the hardest part has been not receiving a steady stream of information from Bridgestone.

“We’ve not seen any communication from them since (Tuesday) morning,” — and he said that came only after asking for an update multiple times.

Another commercial tire dealer told MTD that he had been ordering skid quantities manually, by telephone, during the shutdown.

A Thursday Update from Bridgestone

As of mid-day March 3, Bridgestone says it is "currently in the process of getting our systems back online in a safe and secure manner" — while also continuing its investigation.

"In the last 24 hours, we've restored key internal systems at all manufacturing plants so that we can resume production, but it will take some additional partial production days to securely ramp up to full production.

"In addition, our team is also prioritizing getting our ordering, shipping and invoicing systems safely back online. We're also resuming direct shipments to customers from our distribution centers and warehouses.

"We are continuing to execute our robust business continuity plans and established governance process to do everything we can to minimize impact to our customers and teammates. We will continue to work diligently to restart all operations efficiently and safely and to address any issues that may affect our operations, our data, our teammates and our customers."

Bringing its systems back online comes as the tiremaker had been focused on identifying “the scope and nature” of the incident detected earlier this week. News outlets that are local to the company’s eight tire plants in the U.S. and Canada all reported on shutdowns of their hometown facilities.

Bridgestone has 10 tire plants in North America — seven in the U.S., one in Canada, and two in Mexico. Collectively, those plants have the capacity to produce in excess of 128,500 tires a day.

Bridgestone said it launched a “comprehensive investigation” on Feb. 27 to gather facts and also secure its information technology systems. “Out of an abundance of caution, we disconnected many of our manufacturing and retreading facilities in Latin America and North America from our network to contain and prevent any impact.”

Local media outlets reported employees who were producing tires on Sunday were sent home.

Six of those North American factories are unionized, and USW Local 1155L that represents Bridgestone’s truck tire plant in Warren County, Tenn., has been sharing company messages with union members on its Facebook page.

Since Feb. 27, the union has posted a message for each shift informing them they’re not required to report to work. But there’s a potential sign of hope in the March 2 message for night shift employees:

“Warren hourly teammates who are scheduled to work night shift, March 2nd, please report to work if you work in the following departments:  Maintenance, Warehouse, Banbury/Receiving, and MRC Lab.”

A few hours later, the union posted an update for the March 3 day shift, and called even more departments back to work. The list included: "Maintenance, Warehouse, Banbury/Receiving, MRC Lab, Extrusion, Stock Cutting, and Four Roll."

The plant’s hourly workers who work in other departments were not called back.

Bridgestone didn’t detail how the cyberattack has affected its dealer network or company-owned stores.


Tire dealers:  Tell us how the Bridgestone security incident is affecting your business.

Related Articles

How Life at the Car Dealership Is Affecting Tire Dealers

Bridgestone Data Hacked in Attack

You must login or register in order to post a comment.