Bombardier Finds Value In ICDL’s Approach

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Bombardier Transport has recently won a framework contract from Sweden�s national railway operator, Banverket. The contract involves the delivery of a new signalling system between 2008-2015, which will be used on thirteen of the country�s low-traffic regional lines. Bombardier�s INTERFLO 150, which has ERTMS functionality, will be adapted to meet Banverket�s requirements. The Västerdalbanan line will be the first line to benefit from the project.

In a company press release, Josef Doppelbauer, President of Bombardier’s Rail Control Solutions, describes the order as a significant one, because the lines involved in the project will be the first to adopt ERTMS technology on the regional lines. He adds: "Bombardier has always supported ERTMS technology and this is a rewarding project that will advance Sweden’s integration into the European railway network.”

So how does Bombardier decide whether such deals are going to add value for all stakeholders, and find such lucrative contracts as this one? The company has adopted ICDL’s analytical tools and approach to target the most profitable and value-adding customers. Heikki Viika, Bombardier Transportation’s sales director for main line operations, describes this approach and the tools as being fairly pragmatic:

“We’ve used the opportunity creation and validation tools so far, and we’ve found them quite useful in terms of the sales-capture strategy and capture plan development processes, including opportunity validation and creation. It has helped us to improve the tools that we had previously. Furthermore, some of the tools in the opportunity validation have allowed Bombardier to realize aspects that we hadn’t even considered before, and so we’ve subsequently added some emphasis on to those in our internal processes.”


The tools, the thought-leadership and the approaches taken using ICDL’s tools allow Bombardier to focus on its customers. “A customer-focus in the sense that a lot of the Bombardier governance structure is focused on ensuring that Bombardier lives up to customer expectations. The ICDL tools focus on this too, and without a ‘win-win’ scenario there’s no opportunity,” he explains.

Beth Rogers, a senior lecturer at Portsmouth Business School and the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s research director, backs up his viewpoint: “From the sales’ angle, there is research to suggest that if you have very good methodologies, you can achieve higher productivity. It should make things more streamlined, and there’s a competitive edge to be had there. Also, to be able to demonstrate best practice processes instills confidence in customers, employees and shareholders and this then adds to the value of the brand."

"Bombardier has a variety of customers, private and public, governed by different national and international statutes. With good corporate governance, Bombardier can demonstrate global best practice and process excellence."

ICDL: A ‘unique’ approach:

The basic components of ICDL’s approach are well known, according to Viika. So where does it differ from others in the marketplace? ICDL has combined known tools into one complete approach. This allows Bombardier to facilitate good marketing, sales and the adoption of a high level of good corporate governance (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley compliance). The approach taken is more complete, and it provides a better way of doing business:

“We have benefited from working with ICDL in relation to SOX compliance by enhancing the corporate governance processes and templates with improved view on value addition. With ICDL’s support we’ve managed to complete our analysis on how we add value to the customer, the commitments we make in our offers to the customers.”

Many will think about Good Corporate Governance, and SOX compliance particularly, as being simply a legal obligation. However, it goes much further than this, because it is not just a compliance issue. Terry Kendrick, an Enterprise Risk Management expert at the University of East Anglia, explains why: “It can become an expensive activity in both time and financial resources. So in addition to compliance such companies should, by recognizing the impact it has on customers as well as shareholders, derive sales and marketing value from it. It is not just a legalistic activity, but also a process to protect and develop the way in which value is created and harvested.”

Improve order-capture:

From a sales’ perspective Bombardier has managed to improve the capturing of orders. There is also less strain upon resources; saving time, money, and other types of resources. ICDL’s approach and tools have augmented the company’s ability to deliver to its customers, while making sure that the risks are better managed and therefore it improves our ability to meet customers’ needs. This means that Bombardier’s credibility, as a company that works to high standards of excellence, is maintained.

Bombardier is also able to create future value by using the tools and methodologies. Considering the type of products and services that the company offers, which often involves negotiating with both private and public organizations, Bombardier has a very long sales’ cycle to manage. Sales’ planning therefore begins from between 6-24 months before a tender is submitted, and the average delivery time is two and a half years. So it is vital for Viika’s team to use tools that assist the planning process, and make it easier to analyze where the future sales’ opportunities lie.

Manage risks more effectively

If the wrong strategies and the wrong plans are put in place, this could jeopardize the future profitability of the company as a whole. This would certainly not please shareholders. So it’s important to not only create an audit trail, but to also to use that to discover where you can add value for the benefit of all of your stakeholders. This will also ensure that you target the right opportunities. Effectively this is an opportunity creation and validation process. It also ensure that Bombardier remains a credible, high quality player within its market as Viika explains:

“We are also eliminating those sales opportunities that may jeopardize our credibility: i.e. if we can’t satisfy a customer need we will not pursue an order. We are rejecting such projects, because we do not see them as opportunities for us.”

Kendrick adds: “Sales and marketing tools naturally get to the heart of how value is created and managed within a company. Traditional approaches such as PESTLE analysis, Porter’s Five Forces and SWOT analysis are all important tools to help manage the risks to the future customer portfolio, which in turn is a key concern of good corporate governance. More complex tools such as the Directional Policy Matrix can help manage risky strategic investment decisions in marketplaces.”

Train to add value:

If you want to create value and sell more with an eye on present and future, then you also need to train sales and marketing personnel to ensure that they can think out of the box. Training can lead you to finding new ways of thinking and practical methodologies for value creation, accountability and much improved governance.

Through ICDL’s training programs, Viika created new processes, altered his company’s data capture and good corporate governance templates. Training also adds value by helping salespeople and marketers to respond to questions that might not have otherwise have had the ability to answer. This could even be down to a non-desired focus or the mindset, and this can lead to a lack of effective strategic selling.

“ICDL is helping us with this,” Viika says, “to make sure that the training comes from the right perspective, making sure that the answers are based on value-creation. Otherwise it is very difficult to have the right focus, and that’s why we have training in strategic selling right across our sales force.”

“We’ve really completed only the first lot of training, so it is early days, but some of the people who have been trained are working on some of the biggest opportunities that we’ve had. They are working on creating value in a far more broad-minded way. Whereas earlier, the focus would have been on the products and how to sell them, but now the focus is on creating value and assessing the opportunities with a broader view.”

Proving value:

Bombardier has also found that ICDL’s philosophy, methodologies, and tools allow the company to measure and realize even the true value of sales and marketing within the organization itself. This is one of the benefits of having implemented an audit trail. As Rogers points out, companies who ignore such accountability and traceability may find that down the line when something seriously goes wrong, that such complacency has cost and brand implications too:

"There are potentially huge 'hidden' costs to repair broken communication links and process bottlenecks. The audit trail provides reassurance, because it is there to help to prevent things from going wrong."

"It is important for sales and marketing to prove what they are doing is valuable to the organization. This is difficult for functions focused on generating future revenues. You need the right metrics in place, and ICDL’s tools can measure performance with a realistic dashboard of effectiveness indicators."

Bombardier can now prove that it can effectively target the most profitable customers and manage risk (like in the example given at the beginning of this article). It can also, with the help of ICDL, demonstrate the present and future value can be created throughout the company for the benefit of all of the stakeholders, including the marketing department (which should lead the customer-focused strategic drive), and the entire company itself.

Good results, better governance as demonstrated, improved process management, better training and a more equipped sales force will therefore maintain Bombardier as a leader within its particular field. As Viika reveals, ICDL’s approach helps to prove and create value for the present and the future, providing customers with want they want, and ensuring that Bombardier takes on the projects it can deliver. This approach also proves that accountability is not always a bad thing, it can make sure that sales and marketing personnel are innovative and focused on the right opportunities.

About Bombardier:

Rail Control Solutions of Bombardier Transportation has expertise in developing; engineering and installing advanced rail control and signaling systems, which has helped us gain recognition as the world leader in this field. Rail Control Solutions offers a comprehensive portfolio of rail systems that includes: integrated control systems, computer and relay interlocking systems, automatic train protection and train operation systems, radio based rail control and signaling systems and wayside equipment. These systems are key to increased availability, line capacity and operational line speeds to meet the requirements of every railway operator. Rail Control Solutions has a strong skill base of 2,000 employees working in Research & Product Development, Engineering, Safety Assurance, Service and Maintenance. With customers in more than 25 countries around the world we are best placed to positively respond to customer demands for innovative, state-of-the-art, safe railway system solutions.

About ICDL:

ICDL stands for Intellectual Capital Development Limited. It is a name that reflects directly upon our two principal activities. The first is the application of fresh thinking to our clients' sales and marketing strategies. The second is the translation of our ideas into practical, flexible tools that can be applied by our clients to their own unique business challenges.

Our tools and development programs have been adopted by global organizations, such as BT Syntegra and Carillion. They are ideally suited to the delivery of the audit trailing and management accountability specified by rulings on corporate responsibility, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley ERM Draft Legislation in the USA. In addition, they can serve as practical replacements for sales training and they can even link to customer relationship management solutions such as Oracle, Onyx and ACT.

ICDL was established in 2000 to build tools, processes and events that drive forward sales productivity. Andrew Dugdale whose career spans 22 years in global sales established the company. He is Vice Chairman of the Royal Counties branch of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and sits on the MSSSB (Marketing and Sales Standards Setting Body) a government-sponsored steering group, looking at setting future standards for excellence in sales and marketing.


Graham Jarvis



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Andrew Dugdale