Question 1: What is Caterpillar’s sustainable, distinguishable, competitive edge?
A. Sustainable edge: Proper and careful strategic planning and foresight. B. Distinguishable edge: Its focus on excellence and quality for their product and services as well as their customer service. C. Competitive edge: Caterpillar dominated almost all market segments supported by a large geographic base and many product lines.
Supporting Case Observations:
* “In our business, the lead times are long. It takes ten years or more to develop and introduce a new product. To us, short terms planning means the next five years” (p. 13, ¶ 6) * They seized postwar opportunities, and established independent dealerships to service the machines left in Europe and Asia. Thus laying the foundation for the emergence and consequent dominance of worldwide market by Cat. (p. 7, ¶ 5) * “These dealers quickly became self-sustaining, and along with the strong U.S dealership networks…they became the core of Cat’s marketing strategy” (p. 8, ¶ 2) B)
* The company conducted training program for the dealers and product demonstrations for its customers. (p. 8, ¶ 5) * The company also offered to repurchased parts or equipment dealers could not sell. They also guaranteed their costumers that if parts were not delivered within 48 hours anywhere in the world, the customer got them for free. (p. 8, ¶ 3) * “The second leg of Cat’s strategy was its concentration on manufacturing excellence. All Cat’s products were substantially the same, wherever made” (p. 8, ¶ 8) * To help out the dealers with inventory Caterpillar developed a national computer network to allow its U.S. dealers to order any part from the central distribution depot in Illinois for next day delivery. (p. 8, ¶ 3) * Management in the company had a big focus on quality control. They created problem solving groups to find and analyze problems and recommend solutions. (p. 9, ¶ 5) *...
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