Harley-Davidson's Just-in-Time (JIT) Journey

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Case Details:

Case Code : OPER098
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1981- 2011
Organization : Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : US
Industry : Automobiles

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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“Operational Excellence is the relentless drive to eliminate waste through daily, continuous, gradual improvement in everything we do, at all levels of the Company. In a similar way, continual improvement by dealers enables them to perform better and reach new customers with each passing day.” 1

- James A. Mc Caslin, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company ,in 2006


In late 2010, Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson), a leading US motorcycle manufacturer, was struggling to increase its bike sales in the face of a rapidly shrinking market caused by the economic slowdown and changes in demographics2 . In fact, the company had been facing hard times since 2008 when it was hit by recession3.

Harley-Davidson, the nation's No.1 seller of heavyweight motorcycles, offered more than 30 models of touring and custom Harleys through a worldwide network of more than 1,500 dealers.

Operations Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

Its popular models included the Electra Glide, the Sportster, and the Fat Boy. Harley-Davidson shipped 303,479 motorcycles in 2008 and had revenues of US$5.95 billion and a net income of US$654.7 million4. The sales peaked in 2008. After that the company began to struggle and it was forced to take a relook at its operations.

Introduction - Next Page>>

1] Harley-Davidson, Inc 2005 Annual Report.
2] Harley-Davidson's core customer is a middle-aged white American male. This segment was contracting as its present owners were getting old.
3] Alex Taylor III, "Harley-Davidson's Aging Biker Problem," http://money.cnn.com, September 17, 2010.
4] http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/10/10706.html

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