History and Purpose
Bombardier, currently being an engineering powerhouse, originated from the very spirited mind of Joseph-Armand Bombardier. In the hope of helping his fellow citizens travelling through harsh weather during the Canadian winter, he conceptualized his first vehicle capable of being driven on the snow at the age of 15. In 1937, he received great praise for his B7 snowmobile that could carry, as the name suggests, seven passengers. Afterwards, other bigger and more sophisticated versions were created. Still, the lasting soul of Bombardier finds most of its meaning from this entrepreneurial drive to move the industry forward. Succumbing at a fairly young age, the creator let the company in a strong financial position and with the ambition to reach new heights, as proved by his last creation: the famous Ski-Doo. Following his death, his son-in-law (Laurent Beaudoin) took the reins of the company and proved to be capable of leadership as well by strategically acquiring other companies over time. Eventually, with his skilled team, he managed to take the company public. In 1973, struggling to find new alternatives to fully use the manufacturing capacity of the company, which was cut off by half due to the oil crisis and economic turmoil, the management team (strived to take their know-how ability to the next level by building transits) decided to translate its know-how ability to build transits, such as the metro for the city of Montreal. Soon after, the company received an even bigger contract requiring the construction and supply of 825 subway wagons for the city of New York, making it the North American leader in the railway industry. The company then expanded in Europe by making acquisitions of large manufacturers in Belgium and France at first. At this point in time, Bombardier was strategically positioned to expand in other countries such as the U.K., Mexico and Germany. It is only at the turn of the new millennium that the company got involved in the aerospace market. In this complex industry, they showed enough initiative and commitment to excellence to quickly become a major leader in this market as well. Fundamentally, we can qualify Bombardier to be an entrepreneurial company and a leader in its market for the ability of its personnel to leverage innovation and demonstrate best practices. As many companies have demonstrated through time, the development of an organization most often happens through geographic growth, especially in the transportation and aerospace industries. However, this factor alone can hardly explain the overall success of a company. What we can observe from an organization such as Bombardier is the way they approach challenges through time. As Laurent Beaudoin has emphasized during his entire career, innovation is at the core of both Bombardier’s values and mission. As a current leading manufacturer of trains and planes, it “defines excellence, and delivers it” with integrity, a commitment to excellence, a customer orientation, and a focus on shareholders. In this more and more globalized world, the need for individuals to be able to move around and for goods to be freighted has increased significantly. Opportunities for manufacturing innovative solutions for mobilizing people and products across the globe have let room for the company to build up a highly comprehensive portfolio of aircraft and railroad services, ranging from the production of the vehicle itself to subsequently providing maintenance services. Its distinctive competence in these two areas of manufacturing gives the company a notable advantage over competitors. Even though the transportation and aerospace industries have extremely high standards of quality for the products (for security reasons) and are heavily regulated by government agencies, Bombardier suggests solutions that fit the market. As a result, being a leader in such crucial activities suggests a...
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