It’s been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. At The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, that’s never been truer—innovation is an integral part of the culture at Goodyear. From the continual evolution of our tires, manufacturing processes and information systems, innovation is present just about everywhere in our business. We have a market-oriented innovation strategy, which means we combine the needs and desires of our tire consumers with technology to create tires and service solutions that add value and distinguish our branded products from our competition.
In fact, we made the tire-buying process easier for consumers in North America when we recently launched an e-commerce program where consumers can purchase tires online. We’re the first tire manufacturer in North America to offer this kind of service, which is just another example of the continuous evolution of our sales program.
Sustaining this level of innovation throughout Goodyear depends on three essential elements: our people, processes and technology. Hiring the right people with the right skills at the right time is a critical component to ongoing innovation. We work hard to attract talented associates. Once they’re on board, we want them to succeed, so we make sure to put them in positions where they can be challenged and they have opportunities to grow and contribute. We also bring modern technologies to bear, providing our associates with useful solutions like Microsoft Office 365.
As a global company, we need to ensure that our associates are able to work effectively together as a team from anywhere. The better the communication and collaboration mechanisms that we give them, the more productive they can be. To that end, it’s never been easier for our associates to connect than it is today. With Office 365, they conduct meetings with geographically dispersed team members using Skype for Business Online, exchange instant messages for quick issue resolution and participate in enterprise social networking to bring creative ideas to the surface.
We’ve also made mobile productivity easier, supporting our associates with greater flexibility in how they handle their work. In the past, associates could take a laptop and work from home or elsewhere once they logged on via a virtual private network. But what we’re finding now is that associates are collaborating from home and elsewhere, using Office 365 to work closely with decentralized teams. We’ve always seen a certain amount of remote working, but now that associates are tethered even less to their laptops, they feel they can connect and get things done from anywhere.
One of our associates told a story about how he was driving to work on the way to an 8 a.m. meeting. Suddenly someone in front of him got a flat tire, so he pulled over to help the person, knowing that it would cause him to be late for his meeting. Then he realized that he had his phone with him and all he had to do was click the Skype for Business URL and join the meeting on time from his parked car after helping out. It was that easy for him. He wouldn’t have been able to do both in the past. Since road safety is one of our primary tenets of civic responsibility at Goodyear, we were happy he was able to help that individual and still participate in the meeting from his roadside location.
Taking advantage of Office 365 to give our associates that sort of flexibility helps us accommodate the current convergence between personal and work life. It’s more and more natural now for someone to handle a personal item while at work and a work-related item from home.
Simplifying associate collaboration is the most important way Office 365 supports innovation at Goodyear. Whether it’s co-authoring a document in Microsoft SharePoint Online, brainstorming with a team using Yammer or Skype Meetings or using presence to see who’s online to answer a question quickly—the way we use Office 365 services to streamline the collaboration process is a key contributor to our enhanced ability to innovate.
Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Sherry Neubert, chief information officer for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.