Principled Entrepreneurship Case Study
Michelin Case Study
Tire manufacturers could not keep up with the rapid advances in new and faster engines. The most modern tires couldn’t withstand speeds of over 80 kilometers per hour, and the new cars could already reach 100 km. The tires were the weak point of the car industry.
Like everyone else, Michelin experienced difficulties due to the oil crises at the end of the 1970s. The company had to restructure and reorganize. At times, he even had to reduce the workforce, but he did so very reluctantly and only as a last resort. Years before the invention of the radial tire, a man appeared at the factory’s doors and asked for a job. The HR manager wanted to know about his professional qualifications to which the young man, Marius Mignol, responded, “None.” Marius had no formal education. The only experience he had so far was helping out at the local printing press.
Marius was hired to work in the print shop. Michelin scolded the manager for placing him in the department that matched his skill set. Edouard said, “Don’t you realize that we won’t get to know this man by having him do what he already knows? And he will not learn anything new about himself either by simply doing what he already knows. Remember, you have to break the stone to discover the gem inside!” He was then placed in the international department of the company. Marius Mignol proved himself a few months later after the creation of his own slide rule to make accurate conversions. Believing Marius to be somewhat of a genius, he now was placed to help solve the issues of the tire. It did not take Mignol long to find a solution. Fueled by his passion, observation, and hard work, he invented a basic radial tire design that placed the metal cords directly from bead to bead and aligned them in parallel. The strength of the structure came from steel wires running with the cords. Problem solved! Michelin later wrote in his book, “You know, sometimes it is the ignorant person who has the advantage over someone who has learned, in that he does not live in the graveyard of ideas.”