For Cat® Lift Trucks, operating a network of factories across the world is not just about bringing production close to each regional market. The greatest benefit of its global structure is the way these materials handling facilities work together to create the best possible solutions for every customer.
A different kind of matrix
Although co-operation between different departments and sites is a major factor, their interaction doesn’t entirely fit with the standard definition of a matrix organisation. Normally, a matrix approach to business management means that people report not only to their departmental manager but to one or more managers in different departments. This is not usually the case at Cat® Lift Trucks.
However, the factories can be viewed as business departments which come together as a matrix to achieve common goals. Instead of functioning separately, they share their varied professional expertise across the matrix so that each site contributes to perfecting the Cat® range of forklift and material handling products and solutions.
A global organisation…
The company’s activities in its European (including CIS), African and Middle Eastern territories require the co-ordination of 11 factories. These include production sites in North America and Asia as well as the EAME region itself. The EAME operation is, in turn, part of the much larger, global Cat Lift Trucks organisation.
“This is a truly international company, with global perspectives and dynamics,” says Global Planner Bernard Rosier. His main responsibility in the business is managing purchase order (PO) flow within its network of factories, from PO creation to RTS (ready to ship) in the factory.
“My colleagues and our contacts come from dozens of different nations and cultures. We enjoy working together, travelling and learning from each other. Those relationships help to create a tremendously effective global workforce.”
… serving locally
How this benefits the customers is summarised by Reijo Gröndahl, Senior Product Manager, Electric Counterbalance. His team works for, and with, Cat lift truck dealers to ensure they have strong and competitive materials handling products. He co-operates closely with R&D teams and materials handling equipment dealers during product development, and then with marketing, sales and aftermarket people during and after product launches.
“Working with different factories around the world makes our offering wider and enables targeting of products to meet the needs and preferences of each area.
We use our global resources, international contacts and combined knowledge to serve customers with top-quality, innovative products and services designed to solve their specific local challenges. Our global and local set-up makes us both powerful and agile.”
Happy staff, dealers and customers
Operating internationally does, of course, add extra dimensions to the challenges faced by Cat Lift Trucks employees – but they are happy to work that way. For Randolph Roy, Manager, Technical Service, providing technical support, training and documentation on forklift trucks involves visiting and communicating with all 11 factories.
“It’s important to apply the same defined processes and unified communication approach to each factory, while understanding the variation in applications, priorities and attitudes between countries. I find that an interesting and enjoyable challenge.”
A similar view is expressed by Bridget Westra-Knox, Manager, Customer Relations, who is responsible for the ‘order to cash’ business process. This covers everything from receiving forklift truck orders to processing them to the various factories and following up to ensure that they are fulfilled.
“Working with factories around the world involves a kind of cultural exploration, which is very stimulating and rewarding.”
With such contented staff, enjoying their international matrix approach, sharing ideas, and working to understand each person’s needs, it’s no surprise that dealers and customers are happy too.
Reijo Gröndahl comments:
“The best proof that this approach works is our success in satisfying dealers and customers with our products and services. We know they are happy when they tell us our solutions are top class!”
Further information on Cat® forklifts, warehouse equipment and related materials handling services can be found on ou forklift trucks page. See them in action via www.catlifttruck.com/videos and follow the news on Facebook and Twitter.