Restructuring

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To what extent was market maturity the cause of Caterpillar’s restructuring? Critically examine the extent the new strategy transformed market, productive and financial performance. The aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which market maturity influenced the restructuring phase that Caterpillar underwent after it was nearly put out of business in the 1980s. It will be argued that surely market maturity played a central role in the company’s restructuring, as the increase of competition and the need for product innovation brought up the need to develop an effective action plan. However, it was also the over-managed organization of the company itself that contributed to this degenerating stage and that therefore drove the…show more content…
The mature market is generally a cyclical market in which volume fluctuates at or around a steady pattern of demand: the value added for sales becomes cyclical and cash generation alternates from surplus to deficit (Neale, Haslam, Johal 2009). In the case of the cyclical late capitalist product markets, which afflicted Caterpillar within its North American home-market, demand from the construction industry turned into fitful as infrastructural investement declined. The volume sales’ peak of 85.000 units in 1973 was not surpassed because the growth of new demand weakened, and the market in which Caterpillar acted became more cyclical. The overall revenue generated in Caterpillar’s product market fell, as market maturity was also combined with a sustained fall in unit costs. Indeed, as observable considering the unit value trends of the U.S. shovel loaders, in 1986 the real price per unit was only 70% of the 1972 price. This changed trajectory clearly reflects the increasingly difficult external environment represented by the saturation of the market. The repetitive manufacturing systems of the industry were stressed by switchback fluctuations in volume, and financial cost recovery were made more difficult as the final product prices diminished because of the producers’ ongoing competition to keep their factories going by discounting the product (Froud et al. 1998). The cost-based competition faced by Caterpillar was further enhanced as “high volume standardized
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