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Rolling down to Brits for the Bridgestone factory tour
8 August 2018
One of the highlights of the third-year UP-Bridgestone marketing project is the Bridgestone factory tour. For a third consecutive year, the Department of Marketing Management in UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and Bridgestone have partnered on the third-year practical project, and some of the students had the privilege to visit the Bridgestone factory in Brits. Appropriately dressed for safety purposes, but not knowing what to expect, the students arrived at campus excited on the morning of 30 May 2018 to meet Charl Kruger, the Bridgestone representative who accompanied the group of students to the Bridgestone factory in Brits.     
The students thoroughly enjoyed the Bridgestone factory tour, as can be seen from the feedback from Ancois Olivier:
“When introduced to something new, my world expands. A simple thing like a half-day trip has the power to change my perception about a lot of things. On 30 May 2018 I had the privilege to be part of the group that went on the Bridgestone factory tour.
The factory visit started in Pretoria, at UP’s Hatfield Campus, where representatives from the different teams were picked up by a Bridgestone representative, Charl Kruger, and taken to the Bridgestone factory in Brits. From the start, we were spoiled with snacks and drinks in a beautiful branded Supa Quick bag. Arriving at the factory, we were received and greeted by our tour guide, Dries Venter, who offered us more snacks and drinks, while giving a safety briefing.
The tour started with Dries showing us where all the raw material that goes into tyres are kept. It was incredible to see the amount of resources that goes into producing a tyre. We then moved into the factory where the production processes happen. I was astounded by the machinery and technical aspects of the factory. Thomas Paine once wrote: “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” This is a very accurate description of what unfolded in front of us. Starting with natural rubber – that actually come from a tree; which I did not know before – being moulded into pieces and pieces of rubber to in the end become a tyre that you see on cars, trucks and tractors, is truly enlightening. This is an intense production process and Dries, with a quirky sense of humour, clearly explained the entire process so that it could be understood by everyone.
Walking through the factory, it was clear to see that Bridgestone treats its employees with respect. It could also be seen amongst co-workers with everyone working well together and respecting each other. Friendly and cheerful workers is a fantastic representation of how these employees see their work environment. Having gone through the entire factory and after a very in-depth, intricate explanation with technical aspects and specifications, the students stood flabbergasted looking at the result – a tyre. It was at this point that Dries said with a smile: “Making a tyre is an easy process, right?” His knowledge, attitude and spontaneity made the tour interesting and enjoyable and made all of us very intrigued in the process.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Thank you to the Department of Marketing Management, Bridgestone and Supa Quick for making experiences like these a reality. Not only did it open our eyes, but also our minds by giving us a small peak into a fascinating industry.
Third-year Marketing Management students with Dries Venter (tour guide) and Charl Kruger (Bridgestone representative) at the Bridgestone factory in Brits
Back, from left to right: Laureane du Plessis (lecturer), Ancois Olivier, Bragibbs Zungu, Goitseone Chomane, Jacques Vorster, Francisco Magnin, Andrew van Vuren, Izané Els, Karabo Manuga, Jessica Storey and Charl Kruger (Bridgestone)
Front, from left to right: Dries Venter (Bridgestone), Jancke Martins, Altia Peenz, Adél van Eeden, Tuscany Kitch and Valentim Pereira
Written by: Ancois Olivier (Representative from team SupaSleek)
- Author Marketing Management
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Last edited by Gontse MoseseEdit
Third-year Marketing Management students at the Bridgestone factory in Brits