Cat - Make Dealer Your Partners

8008 words 33 pages
With its strong network of dealers, Caterpillar designs better products and provides superior customer service.

Make Your Dealers Your Partners by Donald V. Fites

A

decade ago, many observers predicted that
Caterpillar would join the long list of U.S. corporations that had fallen to the Japanese. Doomsayers on Wall Street, at business schools, and in the press focused particularly on the rivalry between Caterpillar and Komatsu.
With Komatsu boasting tremendous eost advantages (as much as 40% in some product lines) and excellent produets, they accepted as a foregone conclusion that Komatsu would fulfill its vow to
"encircle Cat" and become the dominant producer in our industry.
Uke many predictions, this one fell short.
…show more content…
Nevertheless, I helieve the tight working relationships we have forged with our independent dealers to meet our customers' needs hold lessons for other manufacturers of relatively standard bigticket products tbat require after-sales service and support. The lessons include the following:
DEocal dealers who are long-established members of their communities can get closer to eustomers than a global company can on its own; but to tap the full potential of such dealers, a eompany must forge extremely close ties with them and integrate them into its critical htisiness systems. When treated in this way, dealers can serve as sources of market information and intelligence, as proxies for customers, as consultants, and as problem solvers.
Indeed, our dealers play a vital role in almost every aspect of our business, including product design and delivery, service and field support, and the management of replacement-part inventories.
D Dealers can be mueh more than a channel to eustomers. They can play an important role in providing customers witb a wide range of services before and after the sale. Those services include advice on the selection and application of a product, financing, insurance, operator training, maintenance and repair, and help in deeiding when it makes economic sense to replace a machine, n Creating an outstanding distribution organization requires signifieant investments hy

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