Completed a project to enable remote work for all employees of Bridgestone group companies
Optimization of IT infrastructure got a over the business delay crisis
The Bridgestone group faced a crisis in which its entire business would come to a halt.
We spoke to two members of the Systems Technology Division who averted the crisis by quickly rebuilding the communications environment.
Joined in 2001/System Technology Division
Although he graduated from a liberal arts department, he joined Bridgestone Software (BSW) because he was attracted to its stable management and large scale of the IT-related company of Bridgestone, a global company. Currently, he is in a position of great responsibility to lead the IT infrastructure strategy execution department for all group companies.
Joined in 2005/System Technology Division
In addition to collaborating with Bridgestone's IT department on a daily basis, he also collaborates with major SI companies and communication line carriers to design and build network infrastructure that covers the entire group, which extends across the country.
Rapid increase in communication failures due to the rapid expansion of telework
In 2020, COVID-19 began to rage globally, forcing all companies, regardless of industry, type, or size, to respond. Bridgestone was quick to promote a work-from-home system for its employees. With the exception of the plant operations department, employees in various departments, including sales, development and design, and corporate, began teleworking from their homes. However, access to the company's VPN (private line) from the external network increased rapidly. Communication failures occurred frequently, and M.S., who is responsible for the construction and operation of the Bridgestone group's network infrastructure, was required to solve problems quickly.
"After Bridgestone encouraged group employees to telework in early March, a state of emergency was declared in April, and employees were forced to work from home. As a result, access to the company's network increased significantly, and employees complained that they couldn't connect to the network or that they couldn't do their jobs. I worked with members of Bridgestone's IT department to understand the situation and take countermeasures."
Making the network more durable by increasing the number of simultaneous accesses
At that time, it became clear that there was a need to increase the number of simultaneous external accesses to the network, which was around several thousand. There was a sense of crisis that if things continued as they were, the Bridgestone group's entire business would come to a standstill. However, M.S. and others, who were always keenly aware of preventive maintenance against system failures caused by networks, moved quickly. After sorting out the bottlenecks from multiple angles, they began by negotiating with communication line carriers to strengthen their lines. After much trial and error, they were able to shorten the response time to one month although it takes nearly three months normaly for a change to be made after an order is placed. If the movement had been delayed even by a week, it would have definitely taken much longer. Even in an emergency situation, they made decisions calmly and quickly and continued to do their best without giving up, resulting in a great achievement for the Bridgestone group as a whole.
Fundamentally reviewing the network configuration
In addition to increasing the number of network lines, we also began reviewing its configuration. K.K. says that they have made drastic changes to the network configuration in order to ensure the number of users that can be accepted at the same time.
"We introduced a cloud load balancer to distribute the load of users accessing the internal network from outside, and also changed the internal network configuration."
By taking this countermeasure, communications became more stable. In April 2020, one month after they began full-scale activities in March 2020, the communication problem was resolved, and they no longer received complaints or requests for action.
Thinking about the next strategy now that the situation is stable
Now Bridgestone group employees enjoy a comfortable telework environment. Both M.S. and K.K. were deeply relieved that the Bridgestone group's business was able to survive without major delays. It also shows the sense of responsibility they have. The pressure to protect the communication environment, which is something we take for granted in our lives and work, is immeasurably great.
It was also an event that allowed them to reaffirm BSW's teamwork as the entire team faced urgent and important tasks in a series of projects.
They always believe that the current network is not perfect and are still searching for ways to create a better environment. "We need to consider building an environment that can handle all kinds of situations, not just failures like this one, but also functional expansion. Rather than waiting for something to happen, I think we need to look ahead and take action,” says K.K. Thanks to those who believe that the correct answer is something to keep searching for, the Bridgestone group's communications infrastructure will continue to be firmly supported.