Building A Winning Joint Venture Playbook

A joint venture is an ambitious undertaking in any circumstance, but in a complex business environment, with two competing companies that run dramatically different operations, it’s especially challenging. North Highland helped Bridgestone partner with one of their top competitors to successfully build a new wholesaling company that addressed changing distribution methods and positioned the joint venture for long-term success.

Client Situation

The market for wholesale tire sales is changing. Today, third-party wholesalers are disrupting the market by selling to local retailers and cutting two international tire manufacturers out in the process. These companies had lost customer exposure and, consequently, had lost the market control they needed to achieve their business goals. Though they are competitors, Bridgestone and another tire manufacturer sought to form a joint wholesaling venture that would allow them to consolidate resources, build a company with a nationwide footprint, and better position themselves in the market. However, each company had vastly different operations and cultures, and they knew it would be a challenge to bring the resources of both together in a complex environment to achieve the joint venture’s goals.

Our Approach

North Highland brought a cross-functional approach to the joint venture formation, providing a single line of sight into the blended client environment to ensure the two parent companies’ goals were achieved across multiple workstreams. North Highland’s first actions were to work with the partners to establish a joint executive steering committee, build the new company’s HR, sales, marketing and IT functional units, and enact the wholesale distribution strategy.

Support was provided through program and project management and by serving key roles in the project management office, extending North Highland’s leadership throughout the new organization. North Highland assisted with development of a go-to market strategy, sales plan, customer portal, employee manuals, job descriptions, organizational design, and an HR platform to manage employees of the new joint venture. Concurrently, C-suite recruiting, and contract-to-hire staffing processes were also managed by North Highland. A functional business intelligence platform was developed to consolidate the two parent companies’ sales, vehicle registration, and market data. This platform provided the joint venture with the real-time data by zip code needed to build local go-to-market strategies and tactics to pursue tire sales.

North Highland helped the new company articulate its business plan and established financial statements for one of the parent companies, enabling them to better plan for financial impacts of the joint venture. Finally, operating budgets for each of the 68 wholesale locations included in the joint venture were constructed.

"The words I would use to describe north highland are flexible, strategic, easy going, and just get it done." – Brad Moreschi VP, Strategic Cost Leadership & Operational Excellence Bridgestone Americas

Value Delivered

North Highland’s broad expertise enabled the new tire wholesaling company to unify the resources of both parent companies and effectively collaborate. With North Highland’s leadership and expertise, the two companies were able to effectively work with two different operating styles and successfully enact the joint venture’s new wholesaling strategy.

North Highland’s inclusive and collaborative approach helped the joint venture launch a new, strategically-positioned business in under 18 months.

Both companies are now better able to adapt and thrive in the rapidly-evolving tire wholesale market.

"When we were looking for a consultancy, we were looking for someone that could work seamlessly across both companies and help us bring the best of the two together. On the projects that they’ve worked with us it’s really difficult to tell them apart from our own Bridgestone teammates."