Back to Basics: Greg Aziz and NSC

If you have ever had to wait for a train in North America, then you have probably seen a product of National Steel Car roll past you. NSC has become the almost-exclusive provider of rolling stock to all of the major railroads in North America. They are extremely profitable and have been doing well under the leadership of their CEO, Gregory James Aziz. However, knowing all of this you probably would never have guessed that this company was almost bankrupt just two decades ago.


National Steel Car got its start in 1912 under the name Imperial Steel Car.when it was created to serve the railroads of Ontario. The company started by producing hoppers, grain cars, coal cars, and box cars for various uses. They were the best in the business in Ontario, and they ruled the market there. The high-quality cars they produced allowed them to ride out the waves of the Great Depression and continue their successes well into the latter half of the 20th century. However, when the trucking companies started to take over the market, the railroads and their suppliers, which included NSC, did not know what to do. Owners started to tighten their purse strings and stopped all capital projects. The company was forced to created low-quality cars for a lower price point, and eventually, customers started looking elsewhere for their rolling stock.


Just when the company was about to go completely under, James Aziz purchased it from a private equity firm in 1994. The company was in bad shape. The previous owners had gutted the production plant and left only the bare essentials for manufacturing train cars. Aziz knew from prior experience that he had to not only create a new strategy for the company, but he had to get back the customers that NSC had lost over the years.


Aziz started by putting a focus on engineering. He wanted to bring back the quality standards of old and make sure that customers knew they were reverting back to creating high-quality cars that would withstand the test of time. Aziz hired several new chief engineers from other companies, and he put capital into new machines that would be able to deliver on the new designs they came up with. Next, he increased production capacity and hired more workers to help build the scale of the business. See Related Link to learn more.


Now National Steel Car is one of the only successful rolling stock companies left. All of this success is owed to the leadership of the CEO, Gregory James Aziz. The company received TTX SECO award for quality, for over a decade and recognized the growth of the company awarding it the ISO 9001:2008 certification.


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