IBM sued by Bridgestone for $600m

IBM is locking horns with Bridgestone in a multi-million dollar case related to a computer system that reportedly plunged the latter into “chaos” with IBM arguing it is not at fault.

Bridgestone is accusing IBM of supplying a custom-built computer system that is so defective the entire company was threatened and it is attempting to recover some $600 million [£370 million] as compensation.

“IBM’s defective system lost or deleted scheduled customer orders, would not process orders, duplicated, or partially processed orders and, for those limited orders that were processed, did not complete critical corresponding business applications,” Bridgestone claims, according to Business Insider.

It was built using SAP software and is responsible for Bridgestone’s customer orders and fulfilment. The system went live in January 2012 and at the time cost $75 million [£46 million] with Bridgestone reporting that it started to cause “system wide failures” right away that took around three months to be righted.

"Tires which should have been delivered to fill customer orders … piled up in distribution centers, smaller warehouses, and trailers parked in parking lots. Ultimately, [Bridgestone] was forced to lease an enormous amount [of] public warehouse space at great expense," Bridgestone stated.

IBM’s version of events conflict with those of the tyre giant and has reported the problems were down to mismanagement on the side of Bridgestone and that its tech department “lacked leadership”, illustrated by the fact it replaced its CIO six times over the course of the two-year project.

IBM also explained that Bridgestone didn’t do “necessary” testing in advance of the system going live and IBM agreed to fix the issues so long as Bridgestone signed a deal exonerating IBM of any responsibility. IBM states that this case “reneges” on that agreement.

Big blue went on to explain that the decision by Bridgestone to ignore much of what IBM had warned it about and a premature roll out of its implementation across the entire business at one time had a detrimental effect on its North American operations.