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Harley–Davidson Essay

1) Harley Davidson has an untypical relationship with the union. Continuous improvement techniques could have been stopped if the company did not have a good relationship with the union. The union viewed management as a partner instead of an adversary. Harley Davidson appears to be using a Focused differentiating strategy. A differentiating strategy is present when a business seeks to be unique in its industry by offering products or services that is highly valued by buyers. A focused differentiation is when a business seeks differentiation in its target segment or group. In the case of Harley Davidson’s, they sell luxury motorbikes and their focused differentiation is conveyed intangibly, where Harley bikes communicating -lifestyle, status and identity.

The United states is Harley Davidson domestic markets and most successful in terms of operations, however continuing growth in this market is curtailing .Yet, United States has and will always be the home of Harley Davidson and this strategy will continue to be successful within this country. However, Harley needs to be careful that it will not isolate loyal buyers, who favour the classic engineering associated with traditional bike with their new models .Where Europe is an intensely difficult, but an attractive market. However, Harley Davidson owns just 10 percent of this market. Here Harley Davidson’s differentiation strategy may be perceived as unappealing, especially when competitors are offering a different range of products to meet their requirements and Overall market share in Japan is declining.

2) Harley’s new management realized to survive they needed to become a perpetual learning and improving organization. Open communication between all levels of employees was essential. Everyone needed to understand their roles and the consequences their roles contributed to the company. But to develop employees to a greater degree, management had to get them to understand the business environment of the corporation. The company also formally stressed the exclusiveness of their Harley bikes by having an average waiting time of one year; this was largely due to customers’ customization of bikes- where customers are encouraged to choose non standard paint and accessories .Furthermore, Harley Davidson’s attempt of keeping their supply of bikes at a minimum is consistent with a differentiating strategy. Here the focus was on creating high demands and a customer hunger for Harley bikes, serving as justification for attaching premium prices and higher margins.

3) Harley-Davidson is driven by a constant vision of what an excellent company should be: one that is never satisfied with the status quo but is always searching for ways to do things better. This is best exemplified by a manager’s comment, “The day we think we’ve arrived is the day we should all be replaced by managers of greater vision” (Reid 38). All companies can and should learn from this position and adopt the idea of continuous improvement. The way Harley Davidson distinguishes themselves in their industry is through: The origins of Harley Davidson bikes and the apparent dreams and lifestyle that was sold to customers along with their purchase. Harley Davidson bikes are certainly not the most innovating, in comparisons to competitors, with the exception of the V-rod and the VRSC models, but the company uses this as a unique selling feature; where the emphasis is not on the latest cutting edge equipment and technology but the fact that through the purchase of their bike you owned an authentic American Iconic product.

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