Essay on Harley

This essay has a total of 4551 words and 23 pages.

Harley

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report examines the Harley-Davidson phenomenon. From near bankruptcy to double-digit
growth every year, Harley-Davidson has something working for them. That something is
called "strategic planning and development." With the growing global economy, companies
are looking for ways to improve their market share. Many excellent firms have learned how
to beat their competitors through the implementation of new management, marketing, and/or
manufacturing techniques. Harley-Davidson is one of those excellent companies whom has
challenged traditional ideas. This report will identify those strategies that have worked
and brought the company and its shareholders success each year.

Today, Harley-Davidson Inc., an employer of 8,100 workers, consists of Harley-Davidson
Motor Company based in Milwaukee and Eagelmark Financial Services Inc. based in Chicago,
Illinois. These are strategic business units are they are managed separately based on the
fundamental differences in their operations, products and services. In addition, there are
nearly 1,500 dealerships worldwide. Harley's commitment toward continuous improvement is
exemplified in the supplemental financial statements, Appendix section.

Harley's strategic objective is to continue to provide, safe, high technology heavyweight
bikes and keep customer satisfaction at high levels. This quality vision more than doubled
Harley-Davidson's market share and increased its brand loyalty.

Harley-Davidson's products include: motorcycles, parts & accessories along with financing
services. Three main geographic markets comprise the bulk of motorcycle sales: North
America, Asia and Europe.

Harley-Davidson's customers are comprised of both male and female with the female segment
the fastest growing market at 5% yearly. Expansion into the European and especially Asian
markets will be forthcoming. These new market opportunities will require new designs that
are lighter, easier to use, comfortable and stylish. Motorcycles are no longer thought of
just a mode of transportation. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle welcomes you into a family,
a culture of the free and willing sprit.

Future threats to prepare for include the increase in European trade tariffs on well-known
brands such as named, Harley-Davidson. Production plant expansion should shorten the wait
time for manufacturing new bikes. This has been a weakness of Harley-Davidson for years.
It adds to the mystique, but the risk of losing customers is also present.

The latest financial reports found in the Appendix section confirm Harley-Davidson's
successful strategies. Year 2001 sales at $3,363.4 (mil), a growth of 15.7% from previous
period. Year 2001 net income at $437.7 (mil), a growth of 25.9%. Harley-Davidson has
successfully captured 60% of the motorcycle market.

The future at Harley-Davidson is expected to do very well and increase market share even
more where penetration into the Asian and European market is expected. The 100-year
anniversary is scheduled for August 2003 in Milwaukee, WI where approximately half a
million people are anticipated to participate in the celebration. The American icon is
very much alive and desired among people around the world. The Harley-Davidson tradition
knows no boundaries but is a culture of its own. With that kind of brand recognition and
strategic management, this company is expected to enjoy success another 100 years.

HARLEY DAVIDSON INC.
Case study of an American icon and the successful strategies


INTRODUCTION

Harley-Davidson Inc. at a Glance
Founded: 1903
Headquarters: Milwaukee
2001 Net Sales: $3,363.4 million
2001 Net Income: $437.7 million
Business Units: Harley-Davidson Motor Co.,
Eaglemark Financial Services Inc.
Number of Employees: 8,100
Number of Dealers: 1,200 worldwide
Number of Motorcycles Produced per Year: 263,000 in 2002; targeting 289,000 by 2003

Perhaps more than any other 20th century product, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle is
revered as an American icon - a symbol of free-spiritedness. While this gives Harley
marketing advantages, it carries the responsibility of upholding the qualities that
customers identify as the essence of Harley.

Harley-Davidson is the only major US maker of motorcycles and the nation's #1 seller of
heavyweight motorcycles who has held the largest share of the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle
market since 1986. Besides its bikes, Harley-Davidson sells a licensed line of clothing
and accessories with the company name and now offers financing. Also, gaining attention
are the Harley-Davidson Cafes, located in various cities including New York City and Las
Vegas. In addition, many of Harley-Davidson owners/riders are members of the Harley Owners
Group better known as H.O.G., with more than 500,000 members nationwide.

The demand for Harley-Davidson motorcycles continues to rise. Other motorcycle
manufacturers have tried to compete with Harley-Davidson, but none have been able to match
Harley-Davidson in terms of customer loyalty and sales. The dedication to its existing
customers has created a loyalty that is enviable by many other companies. The case study
will allow an in-depth look into what strategies have made the company so successful and
what to expect in the future.


INDUSTRY ANAYLSIS
The industry is this case study is the motorcycle industry consisting of five major
manufacturers: American (Harley Davidson, Indian Motorcycle), and Japanese (Honda, Yamaha,
Kawasaki, Suzuki) and some European companies (mainly BMW of Germany and some other
Italian companies). Industry sales of motorcycles were shrinking in the early l990s
because of the recession and the competition from computers and electronic products
decreasing consumers' discretionary income. The sales of accessories and parts make up 36%
of total retail sales and are a viable area for producers to explore because people want
something to personalize their bikes.

Previously, motorcycles were viewed as a cheap means of transportation. By 1992, they came
to be viewed as a recreational, or a luxury item. This new perception of motorcycles led
to the introduction of more expensive models with higher prices. This in turn created a
new market for Harley-Davidson of consumer financing, one of the fastest growing service
areas in the motorcycle industry.

The table 1 comparison shows Harley Davidson continues to show strong growth in sales that
increased by 15.7% over previous year whereas BMW gained massive sales in 2001, yet growth
was only at 2.3% indicating their marketing may be reaching a peak.

Company 2001 Sales (mil) 1-Yr. Sales Growth 2001 Net Inc. (mil) 1-Yr. Net
Inc. Growth 2001 Employees 1-Yr. Employee Growth

Harley Davidson $3,363.4 15.70% $437.7 25.90% 8,100 5.20%
BMW $34,071.0 2.30% $1,653.0 71.10% 97,275 3.90%
Indian Motorcycle $1,512.0 6.10% $91.4 10.40% 3,550 -0.30%
Table 1

VISION AND MISSION
To treat customers and employees honestly and fairly. To provide a clean and a safe work
environment. To manage our business efficiently and profitably. To understand that we
exist in a changing marketplace with increased competition. To be supportive and well
thought of in our community. And to remember that our business is more than the bottom
line. We gotta have fun, enjoy working with each other and with our customers.


INTERNAL AUDIT (STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES)
BRAND LOYALTY
The Harley-Davidson corporation's ability to evangelize the Harley lifestyle without
alienating a customer-base, which prides itself on being free-spirited and
counter-cultural, has been a testament to its marketing shrewdness. "We're proud of our
motorcycles, and we are committed to a lifelong relationship with our customers. That's
why Harley-Davidson is much more than a machine. It's a way of life."

Harley-Davidson's business design is based on long-lasting relationships not only with
their customers but also with all their stakeholders. Harley-Davidson's mission to fulfill
dreams extends beyond their customer; it is their goal to create mutually beneficial
relationships with all their stakeholders - customers, employees, dealers, suppliers,
investors, government and society.

While the company holds 60% of the market, managers are by no means asleep at the wheel.
Harley-Davidson upholds it's reputation for quality and good service retaining the
customer base and securing new customers to the brand as indicated in figure 3.

PRODUCTS
Harley Davidson produces only heavyweight motorcycles (with engine displacements of 750cc
or greater) that are categorized into touring and cruiser motorcycles. Touring motorcycles
are designed for long distance riding and feature many car like features (i.e., trunks),
and provide Harley with the greatest profit margin. Cruisers are styled after early
motorcycles and are the kind most often associated with Harley. They provide a very low
profit margin because of their low prices but are used as a means to attract young
customers.

Strategic managers study demographics such as illustrated in figure 3 very carefully.
Trends are identified and strategies for the next new product launch and market
penetrations are readied. Implementation is crucial along with timing. For example, for
year 2003 the company will produce special models in limited quantities for the 100-year
anniversary.

Not to be forgotten is the part and accessories (P&A) business, which has grown remarkably
during the past years, and it is expected to grow slightly faster than motorcycles. The
company's strategy is ready and offers digital inventory now. General merchandise includes
motor clothes apparel and collectibles

HARLEY-DAVIDSON, INC.
Motorcycle Shipments
(UNITS)

HARLEY-DAVIDSON 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997
Sportster 50,814 46,213 41,870 33,892 31,453
Custom 118,303 100,875 87,806 77,434 70,724
Touring 65,344 57,504 47,511 39,492 30,108
234,461 204,592 177,817 150,818 132,285

Domestic 186,915 158,817 135,614 110,902 96,216
International 47,546 45,775 41,573 39,916 36,069
234,461 204,592 177,817 150,818 132,285

BUELL
Buell (exc. Blast) 6,436 5,043 7,767 6,334 4,415
Buell Blast 3,489 5,416 — — —
9,925 10,189 7,767 6,334 4,415
Figure 2
MARKETS
Harley is the established leader of heavyweight motorcycles in the North American market,
accounting for about 60% of the market share. The size of its market share provides an
opportunity for Harley to gain dominance. Its customers are the most loyal of any other
brand and its products have a great reputation. Foreign markets are growing very fast
because customers there are obsessed with Harley's quality and culture providing a great
opportunity for Harley to exploit.

The main problem is Harley's limited production capability, putting customers on a waiting
list for months. To avoid customers purchasing from the competition, careful strategic
management took place. Strategies now at work include creating good customer ties, provide
after sales service, build up customer loyalty, expand distribution network, and modify
products to meet local customer needs. Strategies as mentioned have been weighted in the
Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM) illustrated in Appendix A. The purpose of the CPM is for
identification of a company's major competition and their particular strengths and
weaknesses in relation to a sample firm's strategic position. It is very useful in
addressing the question "where do we focus?"

Strategies involve the company's structure as well. This has meant going to a
high-performance work organization, with remarkable leadership from its labor union. In
manufacturing operations, self-directed work teams are the order of the day.
Enterprise-wide, Harley is now organized into three basic circles: a produce products
group, a create demand group, and a provide support group. Everyone in the company belongs
to one of these three.

The 70's saw a decline in the overall market. A flood of imports from Japan and quality
problems created major problems for the company. In the 80's, 13 members of
Harley-Davidson management purchased the company from AMF and brought a return to quality
and implemented new management and manufacturing techniques. Harley-Davidson was one of
the first US companies to use just-in-time inventory policies, statistical processes and
employee involvement programs.

Even using governmental laws as part of your strategy is acceptable. For instance, in
1982, the company convinced the International Trade Commission (ITC) that the glut of
imported Japanese bikes were a threat of injury. Additional tariffs were imposed on the
imports for five years, giving the company a chance to revitalize its place in the market.
It did this in just three years by re-tooling and streamlining its operations. It is most
apparent the strategic management team had extensively researched the competition and
implemented strategy to slow down growth. Immediately thereafter, the company practiced
the policies formulated from evaluating its internal audit and external audit. No doubt
many matrixes were developed and ready to put to work once the Japanese growth had been
slowed.

Internal factors best account for the motorcycle maker's movement from near death to
double-digit growth for the last several years. You see a simplified, high-performance,
organizational structure and a set of clear matrixes derived from one key goal: to be
ready for launch at the right time.

Double-digit growth and being sold out of product are great (Harley's situation for the
last several years), but they contain big risks. Foremost: despite the romance of the
product, an "I-want-it-now" American customer base might get tired of waiting. To reduce
this threat adding production capacity was needed, which they've done (they opened their
first new plant since the 1920s in Kansas City two years ago) but carries with it the
possibility of having overcapacity if and when the market heads south.


EXTERNAL AUDIT (OPPORTUNITIES, THREATS)

CUSTOMERS
Continues for 12 more pages >>




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