Harley Davidson: Supplier Relations and the Open Road


Harley Davidson is the biggest and most well-known name in motorcycles. Since 1903, Harley Davidson has achieved massive success through many means. From marketing strategies, to arrangements with the U.S. military during World War I, constant innovation has kept the “Harley” on roads throughout the world. An innovation that few think of is supplier relations. Over the last few decades, Harley has become one of the leaders in supply chain management (SCM).

Suppliers are a key to any business. Without the necessary tools and materials, production simply cannot exist. Many manufacturers struggle with keeping up with demand for not only production materials, but with standard safety and PPE equipment. Once an order is placed, any delay can be a critical disturbance in the overall production in a plant. Harley Davidson has recently implemented a system designed for real-time integration with suppliers. Purchasing agents are able to track orders in real time, and provide accurate analysis shutterstock_531025378towards production goals. This provides insider knowledge of delivery times for any product so that production can be planned to fit around any supply occurrences.

Armed with the knowledge of current inbound supply shipments, purchasing agents are better able to gauge supplier performance. Selecting the highest performing vendors allows Harley Davidson to provide a better product according to customer demand. This allows a streamlined approach to domestic and international sales.

Supplier relations can mean the difference between success and failure. Accurate delivery times and competitive pricing can make improve any manufacturing process. Harley Davidson has found a solution to one of the many challenges that manufacturers face.  They have created a network of suppliers with consistent reliability and decreased spending through encouraging peak supplier performance. The greatest companies in any industry are the ones who can utilize any advantage possible to increase net profits.  Through supply chain management, Harley Davidson has taken an often overlooked advantage.

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