On Friday 10 of us and one staff member, Patty, piled into cars for a 45 minute drive to see Milton CAT, a family owner Caterpillar dealership franchise that serves most of New England and New York state. They hosted us for a full day there, giving us a history of their branch of dealerships (three generations of Miltons have now ran the business) and tours of basically their whole facility. They were great hosts and I'd like to thank them again for putting together such a great day Friday.
During domestic plant trek, we had gotten to learn a lot about CAT corporate, but didn't have the chance to experience the company from the dealer network perspective. Being able to see what individual dealerships do to manage everything from inventory to customer relationships was helpful in understanding CAT as a whole business. The dealer network actually has similar employment and revenue numbers to CAT corporate (sometimes bigger) and they regularly communicate and give feedback to headquarters.
A fun fact about CAT and their capabilities, is if you bring in a piece of their equipment they will refurbish, clean, repair, inspect and paint your entire machine in 4-5 weeks such that it will have the same warranty as it would when you bought it new. This costs 60-70% of buying a new unit. Remanufacturing, as well as renting, are some of the strategies CAT employs to be cost competitive to many different customers.
Turns out, because everything from repair and maintenance to parts sales is on site, this dealership felt more like a factory then a showroom, and had many things that we saw when we visited companies on our domestic plant trek. One thing that we thought was especially awesome though, that was not included in our January trip was...getting to drive these machines!
|This was what I drove first - digging, scooping - very cool|
|Took this one into and back out of a big ditch in the yard that we learned and played in|