Caterpillar Essay

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1. Caterpillar’s ability to successfully meet Japanese competition Caterpillar met Japanese competition successfully in several ways. First, the company built the best equipment in the world those customers we willing to pay a “hefty premium” for. Because of this they had been operating at a very high profit margin. To counteract the dollar strengthening against the yen and the Japanese manufactures 40 percent cost advantage they were able to lower the prices, essentially trading profit for market share to insure long term sustainability. Caterpillar also generated income by capitalizing on the strengths of its distribution and logistics services to corporations such as Land Rover and Chrysler. They started to source out some of their manufacturing instead of manufacturing everything they sold. As an example, CMI Corp was hired to manufacture paving equipment. A joint venture was started with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to make excavation equipment and nearly everything sold in the Pacific Rim with Caterpillar’s name on it. The Company reorganized from a functional structure to a modern orientation that was made up of 13 profit centers spread throughout the world. Caterpillar’s success was also largely due to its ability to negotiate with the United Auto Workers union. The company refused to accept typical union agreements that had existed since the 1950’s. They believed this would give the Japanese competitors a 25 percent wage advantage. Announcements of a plan to replace striking workers broke the 1991 strike and the company was able to remove job security clauses from the contract that they hoped would improve productivity. Lastly, the extensive dealer network that was able to respond effectively to customer needs a contributor to their success. 2. Caterpillar’s marketing and management strengths and weaknesses One of their strengths was management’s

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