10 December 2012
This type of analysis provides a summary of an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT is a planning report that only covers a specific time period but can be used in conjunction with other business documents to provide efficient and effective decision-making based on facts instead of intuition. The Strengths and Weaknesses sections of the analysis are those issues internal to the organization. Opportunities and Threats are issues that are external to the organization period (Nickels, McHugh, & McHugh, 2010). I have chosen to conduct a SWOT analysis on Harley-Davidson, Inc. (Harley), number 458 on the 2012 Fortune 500 list (Fortune, 2012). Company Overview
Harley is one of the leading organizations in the world for producing heavyweight (>650 cc) motorcycles. The company not only produces and sells motorcycles, but a wide range of associated products, including parts and accessories, clothing and apparel, and financial services. Harley-Davidson, Inc. is divided into two operating segments: Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company (HDMC) and related products, and Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). Harley’s main headquarters is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and employs approximately 6,600 people (HD, 2012). SWOT Analysis
Strong market position | Lapses in product quality impacts reputation| Wide distribution network| Dependence on independent dealers and distributors| Strong brand image| Mixed financial picture|
Growing market demand | Compliance with government laws and regulations| Growing market for women | Reliance on 3rd party suppliers of raw materials|
Strong market position. Harley has held the largest share of the U.S. market since 1986. Market percentages, as measured by registration of retailed, new Harleys, have been: 53.2% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008; 54.9% in FY 2009; and, 55.7% in FY 2011. The corresponding percentages for the European market are: 12.0% in FY 2009; 12.7% in FY 2010; and, 13.7% in FY 2011. Besides U.S. and Europe, Harley provides products and services to North America, Latin America, Middle East region, India and the Asia-Pacific region (SWOT, 2012). Wide Distribution Network. Harley utilizes a network of independent distributors and retail dealerships for its products and services. In the U.S., Harley works through 706 full-service dealerships located in primary and secondary locations. The Canadian network is comprised of 74 dealerships, 370 dealerships are located in the European, Middle East, and Asia (EMEA) region and there are 44 such dealerships located in Latin America. Projected growth plans in the international market show an additional 100 to 150 dealership locations planned between 2009 and 2014. A wide distribution network such as this enables cost-effective and timely delivery of products and services worldwide (SWOT, 2012). Strong Brand Image. The Harley-Davidson brand and their many logos, images and slogans have created an image that is rivaled only by other mega-sized organizations such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. This impact goes beyond the mere labeling of merchandise, however. Harley has gone one more step and created a sub-culture of loyal owners that tie their allegiance to current ownership, their youthful past, the feeling of freedom and the best of American culture (Comer, 2010).
Lapses in Product Quality Impacts Reputation. Harley has announced recalls in recent years for manufacturing and design issues. In February 2012, Harley-Davidson launched a repair service campaign to fix faulty brakes in about 1,228 units of 12 models. In October 2011, the company initiated a world-wide recall affecting over 308,000 units of its Touring, and Trike motorcycles. Such recalls can hamper...