Supply Chain Management at Harley-Davidson Motor Company With the growing global economy, companies are looking for ways to improve their productivity. Many excellent firms have learned how to beat their competitors through the implementation of new management, marketing, and/or manufacturing techniques. Harley-Davidson is one of those excellent companies, which have challenged traditional ideas of supply and inventory management. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is an American manufacturer of motorcycles. Founded in 1903, the Milwaukee based company endured two World Wars, and the Great Depression. By 1953, Harley-Davidson was the last remaining major motorcycle manufacturer in the United States. Harley-Davidson’s nearly six-decade reign as a family owned enterprise ended in 1965 when it went public. By 1969, Harley-Davidson was purchased by the American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in a $21.6 million stock trade. At the time of the merger, Harley-Davidson was producing about 15,000 motorcycles a year. By 1980, that number jumped to more than 50,000. AMF also modernized the sorely outdated original Milwaukee plant. At the same time, however, rapid expansion under AMF created a lapse in quality control and blemishes on the Harley reputation. Persistent oil leaks, breakdowns and other mechanical problems impeded the company’s ability to compete with Japan, which by then was flooding the U.S. with heavy-weight machines that cut into Harley’s cruiser domain. By 1981, AMF had had enough of the motorcycle business and put Harley-Davidson up for sale. At first, there were no takers. Then, an inside group of thirteen executives purchased the company from AMF in a leveraged buy-out. Harley-Davidson set out to rededicate itself to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Even so times remained tough. The market for heavyweight bikes was down overall, and even more so for Harley-Davidson. In addition, the work…
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