Originally produced in Springfield, Massachusetts, Indian Motorcycles were a symbol of America’s fascination with motorcycle engineering for over a generation. Unfortunately, the original owners went out of business in 1953.
Many have tried to revive the iconic Indian brand. Unluckily, most of those attempts failed. However, three years ago Polaris Industries, known more for engineering of snowmobiles and ATV’s, bought the Indian brand and vowed to bring back its glory days. Recently, the results of that promise have hit the streets in the form of three mighty machines: the Indiana Chief Classic, the Indian Chief Vintage and the Indian Chieftain.
This rollout was monumental for two major reasons. First, the Polaris Director of Engineering, Director of Manufacturing, Director of Quality, Director of Product Development all teamed up to streamline the entire product development process. This resulted in accelerating the rollout of all three of these motorcycles to only 27 months! This move from conceptual design and design engineering through manufacturing engineering out to the showroom is about 50% of the time it takes most companies take to launch a new bike!
Second and equally impressively, Polaris has launched these three bikes at very, very reasonable price points. For example, the previous owners of Indian were selling the Indian Chief Vintage for $36,000. Instead, Polaris is selling their 2014 Indian Chief Classic for less $19,000 and their top-of-the-line Chieftain for $22,999!
In order to accomplish both Herculean feats, Polaris orchestrated a team effort among all their key engineering, scientific, technical and marketing personnel including recruiting the best personnel and managing them effectively. This team effort permeated their entire organization including plant managers, directors of engineering, mechanical engineers, design engineers, CAD drafters, process engineers, quality engineers, material scientists, chemists, polymer scientists and engineers, product developers, electrical engineers, software engineers and IT professionals. Hopefully, Polaris will provide a benchmark for other organizations in the engineering, scientific and technical fields that I am a recruiter for. This will result in a lot more jobs for our U.S. economy!