A business expert says now is the time for Thunder Bay's Bombardier plant to pull out all the stops if it wants to protect its reputation.

Bombardier has fallen far behind in its delivery of new streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission — and the delays prompted a visit to Thunder Bay from unhappy TTC officials this week.

A professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University said Bombardier will risk losing future contracts, if problems persist.

"In business like in professional sports, you're as good as your last season, you're as good as your last game ... that is to say, your competitive advantage is largely driven by your most recent performance in the marketplace," Ian Lee said.

Ian Lee

Ian Lee, a professor in the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, says if problems persist, Bombardier will risk losing future contracts. (carlton.ca)

He said the fact that the TTC would even consider whether Bombardier should be excluded from future contracts is a "very bad sign."

Bombardier still has a window of opportunity to fix the problems, Lee noted. But management and labour will have to work together to pull it off.

Unifor local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said workers are up for the job, as long as parts are delivered on time.

"We're all pulling together to try and see what we can do," he said. "But ... it's like you're trying to build your house, and the bricks aren't being delivered."

Pasqualino said he expects extra labour to be hired to ramp up production of the streetcars.

He added he had the opportunity to meet with TTC Chair Josh Colle on Tuesday, when he visited Thunder Bay.

"I think it was good that they actually came to the plant, because I think our plant is part of the solution, and not part of the problem."