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Harley-Davidson Motor Company

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Any time the company is looking into software project, there are areas associated with risk such as cost, time and relationship with suppliers. However, for Harley-Davidson, “collocation of suppliers with production facilities and their integration into company’s development process was the essential part of long-term relationship development”. Through a continued focus on collaboration and strong supplier relationships, the company could position itself to achieve strategic objectives and deliver cost and quality improvement over the long-term. Since, at that time company had no centralized system in place to handle relationship with suppliers and consequently, most of company’s time was spent on supplier management activities. For example, reviewing inventory, expediting and data entry. Furthermore, each supplier had different information systems for “Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO), Original Equipment (OE), Parts and Accessories (P&A), and General Merchandising (GM) purchasing activities”. The systems, already provided by supplier, had to be further modified to meet individual need at each location, such as “the OE system at Harley-Davidson’s York, Pennsylvania site was different from the OE system in Kansas City”. However, due to long-standing tradition of gradual change implementation and focus on quality, quick transitions were unwelcome and did not come easy for the company. The size of the project determined how much risk was involved in terms of cost, time, and supplier relationships. The idea of switching to global purchasing system was seen as a threat not only in supplies and production flow interruption, but also in damaged dealer/customer relationships and lost sales. Furthermore, failure of the sy...

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...System (SMS). Knowing that the Harley-Davidson’s employees were not very susceptible to quick changes, SiL’k team made sure to employ company’s model to highlight People, Processes and Technology for any change initiatives. Additionally, company’s Technology decisions were differed to company’s Architecture Integration group to ensure all technical solutions will be compatible with existing Information Systems architecture. Last but not least, the team took an open communication approach and throughout the process, each party involved, shared their monthly updates as well as project newsletter that communicated objectives, activities and progress to the community. This was clearly an ultimate teams collaborative effort, which brought them all toward shared vision of the new process and activities, resulted in shareholder’s decision in favor of the new supplier.
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