NFI Group, Paul Soubry- It’s all about the people

March 8, 2018 Prairie Manufacturer Magazine Cover Story – Paul Soubry “It’s all about the people” Prairie Manufacturer Magazine – Spring 2018 Published March 6, 2018 Cover Story For the past nine years, I have been fortunate to work for a great Canadian company, New Flyer Industries Inc., which has been around since 1930. We manufacture buses and lead our industry within North America. Over the years, we have grown organically and through acquisition — now consisting of a team of nearly 6,000 people. We have transformed our business, both by changing our capital structure and by adopting lean principles to enhance our products, service, and competitiveness. As I get older and wiser (not to mention fatter and balder), I have come to truly believe the only real source of competitive advantage we have is our people. It’s easy to say — and everyone does — but there is a significant difference between saying it and building a company around it. We have made a commitment to continuously pursue excellence in our operating environment and in the relationship with our team members. I read a book nearly 25 years ago that had a huge impact on the way I think about business and what is really important: The Great Game of Business , by Jack Stack. It is a story about a company in the mid-west United States on the verge of being shut down that transforms itself and turns it around. It is an easy read and, through logic and analysis, explains how understanding the economic engine of your business is vitally important. From my perspective, the most profound statement in the book — which I seem to repeat almost daily — is, “You can fool the fans, but you can’t fool the players.” I interpreted that to mean we can tour a visitor through our plant and impress them with the way it looks, but the reality is we cannot fool our employees, customers, or shareholders. Our team members know whether they are trained, safe, paid fairly, and engaged. Our