How Harley Davidson is riding the waves of Change?

How Harley Davidson is riding the waves of Change? | The Enterprise World

Are you crazy about riding motorcycles? If yes, it might be one of your dreams to take a road trip with a Harley Davidson bike in the mountain areas. The bike gives you the experience of pleasure and adventure while enjoying the scenic beauty at the same time. Nobody will disagree with me if I say Harley Davidson bikes are the best in the world.

Their motorcycles are the perfect combination of a beautiful body framework, excellent engineering, and a smooth ride. Hardcore bike lovers, when looking to buy a motorcycle, often don’t settle for anything less than Harley. In this article, we’ll take you on a ride to show the journey of Harley Davidson from a bicycle brand to a motorcycle legend loved by all.

Competition with Global Market

How Harley Davidson is riding the waves of Change? | The Enterprise World

Founded in 1903, Harley Davidson is one of the few American companies that survived the Great Depression in 1930. It was established in one of the towns in the United States of America named Milwaukee in Wisconsin. The company experienced multiple changes in terms of leadership and subsidiary arrangements. When there was serious competition in the global market, especially from Japan, Harley Davidson saw its poor quality bike production in the market. However, it did not affect the ever-growing graph of the company’s success. Harley Davidson inspired more bikers across the world and people started joining its fan club, showing off their bike riding skills.

Rising through War Time

The origin of the company can be traced back to 1901 when William S. Harvey decided to use a small engine capable of displacing 116 cc flywheels for manufacturing pedal-powered bicycles. For another two years, William, along with his childhood friend Arther Davidson kept on tinkering with the engine. The journey of one of the most iconic motorcycle manufacturers in the world began when the process of engine-making was finished. When the USA decided to participate in the First World War, the demand for motorcycle users increased. Harley Davidson sold more than 15000 motorcycles to the US military during the war.

In fact, during Second World War, the government again asked Harley Davidson to serve in the military. The company provided more than 90,000 motorcycle bikes to the military, probably one of the highest demand to date. However, when American Machine and Factory purchased Harley Davidson in 1969, the company lost its reputation for manufacturing reliable and quality motorcycles. The American Machine and Factory reduced the mass production of bikes and fired most of the workers which lowered the bike quality and made them inferior to their Japanese counterparts. Soon, the company became bankrupt and it was difficult for it to survive. However, the veteran didn’t bog down and kept coming back, ultimately making way for itself in the market again.

Pioneer of ‘Chopper Motorcycles’

How Harley Davidson is riding the waves of Change? | The Enterprise World

In the beginning, Harley-Davidson manufactured large, air-cooled cruiser motorcycles with powerful engines with a minimum displacement of 700cc. This model of motorcycles brought the trend of the “chopper” motorcycle style that underwent mass production and was customized to complement the rider’s desires and specifications. They were well-known for the personalized bike specifications company offered for buyers.

Popular Models of Harley Davidson

  • Harley Davidson Fat Boy 114
  • Harley Davidson Sportster S
  • Harley Davidson Street Glide Special
  • Harley Davidson Pan America 1250
  • Harley Davidson Nightster

Ravishing Retro Looks

One thing that fascinates most people about Harley-Davidson bikes is their retro look. In addition to customization, the company wants its customers to enjoy the retro look which takes them back into the era and relives nostalgia. The company is acknowledged for durability, comfortable ride, and most significantly, the reliability of its engines because safety is everything. Most of the bikes have an engine above 700cc segment and use the V-twin engine which is a perfect blend of power and longevity.

Marketing Strategies

There are different marketing strategies that worked well for Harley Davidson and made the company what it is today. They include:

  • Freedom and Individualism: Harley has always portrayed itself in the ads as a free bird. It characterized the quintessential value of human beings like freedom and individualism. The way its brand is different, it shows how every rider is different. This strategy gave bike owners a wide canvas to explore who they are.
  • Symbol of Courage: Harley and Davidson created sports bikes in an era when there were no proper roads and racing tracks. Both of them went ahead and dared to innovate something that was way ahead of the time. It was a courageous thing to do that, and today, road trips with Harley are encouraged as a lifetime adventure.
  • Listening to Customers: What makes Harley Davidson different than its competitors is that it listens to its customers and respects their opinions. The company undertakes surveys to collect data about customer preferences. They call it ‘real-time market research.’ The research provides a unique approach to studying customer behavior.
  • Focused on Creating Own Community: Harley Owner Group (HOG) is a sponsored community marketing club which is operated by Harley Davidson. It is for those enthusiast bike riders who are loyal customers of the company. The group promotes company products as well as encourages a posh lifestyle.
How Harley Davidson is riding the waves of Change? | The Enterprise World

Statistics of Harley Davidson Bikes:

Revenue Totals for the last five years

YearAnnual Revenue
2022$5.775 billion
2021$5.335 billion
2020$4.045 billion
2019$5.361 billion
2018$5.716 billion

Harley Davidson Motorcycle Sales in the last five years: 

YearUSACanadaEurope, Middle East, Africa (EMEA)Asia-PacificLatin America

Keeping up with the Quality

Harley-Davidson is one of those brands in the market that has good manufacturing quality and designs that fulfill the requirements of customers at a low cost. However, the company has faced numerous challenges throughout its journey. As mentioned earlier, during the 1970s, it experienced tough times as its market share was declining due to the poor quality of its bikes. The American Machine and Factory company desired to take advantage of the market situation and raise production by neglecting its supply chain management. The company suffered vigorously in maintaining its quality, however, it recovered to become the sole surviving heavy-weight motorcycle-producing company.

Just in Time Management

In 1981, Harley Davidson appointed new personnel at the management level. The company launched new production schedules that surged inventory turns from 16 to 28 million. It focused on improving relationships with suppliers and building better supply chain management. Thereafter, the company introduced “Just in Time Management” which helped it to achieve continuous advancement in quality and quantity. It increased the product development efficiency which dropped the cost and ultimately the sale was increased.

Harley Davidson has become a leader in the market not just in terms of producing and selling motorcycles but also as a perfect example for upcoming startups to follow. The foremost accomplishment of the company is quality improvement and quick delivery of products. The company consistently studies customer behavior and understands their needs to make innovations in the product.

What makes Harley-Davidson unique from other contemporary businesses?

Today, management institutes are teaching Harley Davidson as a case study to their students and making effective contributions in the field of marketing. Here are some factors that differentiate Harley-Davidson from most of its competitors.

  • Lower Batch Size Production: Small batch size production can decrease production costs and improve the quality of the product. It fuels smooth production flow and reduces inventory.
  • Reduced Set-up Time: Lesser set-up time improves manufacturing efficiency which eventually reduces the time and space of production.
  • Pull system: Based on customer demand, the pull system can control the production flow. The method eliminates waste in handling, optimizes the space of the shop floor, and makes quick product delivery to customers.
  • Complete Involvement of all Employees: At Harley Davidson, the employers are a part of the quality control circle. They motivate employees to take responsibility for their work which eliminates loopholes in the process.
  • Relationship with Suppliers: As we discussed earlier, building strong relationships with suppliers is one of the crucial decisions taken by Harley Davidson. It revamped the problem-solving skills of the company and removed friction while sharing information.

Urban Riding Experiences

Harley Davidson builds motorcycles not just for this generation but also for upcoming generations. In order to contribute to sustainable development efforts, the company has launched EVs (Electric Vehicles) that are ready to take bike riders beyond the limitation of combustion. Examples of Harley Davidson electric vehicles include LiveWire ONE, S2 DEL MAR, etc. These bikes are manufactured for agility and urban riding experiences.

How Harley Davidson is riding the waves of Change? | The Enterprise World

Futuristic Trends

Harley Davidson owns diversified futuristic plans that can transform the future of the whole bike industry. The company is branding its logo to reach more people and become a natural choice for them. Supplier training consists of a detailed study of their previous strategies, issues, and the way they approach the solutions. Today, the company seeks to manufacture world-class profitable motorcycles along with becoming the best supplier in the world. Harley Davidson ought to be recognized by customers for the quality and value of its product and services.

The ‘Giving Back’ Attitude

Harley-Davidson is contributing to social work as well. The company has global appeal as well as presence and it sponsors fund-raisers, charities, and a variety of social events for the benefit of the community. Even without company sponsorship, Harley motorcyclists come together for charity work and try to give their back to the communities and help others. 

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