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Caterpillar Inc--Early 1990s The assessment of opportunities and threats is the foundation upon which planners develop strategies The Caterpillar case illustrates some of the problems associated with the identification of opportunities and threats especially in a situation where previous successes are notable Attempting to pattern long-term growth on the basis of previously valid assumptions is one of the classic dilemmas facing the strategic planner whether in consumer or organizational markets Why was Caterpillar able to meet Japanese competition and succeed while other major US manufacturers failed For example what did Caterpillar do that the big three auto makers have not done While Caterpillar ignored the Japanese until eroding market share and huge losses forced the company to react once started the company made tough decisions quickly In particular Caterpillar cut prices to meet the prices being offered by competitors The company sacrificed short-term profits to protect its market share Caterpillar has always maintained its reputation as a producer of quality products Caterpillar had a competitive advantage in its strong network of dealers and effectively capitalized on this strength Caterpillar has taken a long-term view investing heavily in modernizing plants and cutting costs to produce equipment Caterpillar made tough decisions to close plants eliminate jobs and reorganize the entire corporate structure Alternatively the US automakers had allowed quality to slide on most of their models These companies have been stymied in their efforts to reorganize by uncooperative unions and did not reduce prices or costs until overseas competitors had taken large amounts of market share In addition the shareholders at the big three automakers have sometimes had to force necessary changes Evaluate Caterpillar Incs marketing and management strengths and weaknesses Caterpillars Strengths Product-orientation widely recognized technologically superior product line immediately integrating latest advances Most extensive dealer-service-parts network in the industry recognized as one of the most important reasons for buying Caterpillar equipment Market share leader for earth-moving machinery
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