Caterpillar Tunes Up International Marketing Team

Wednesday, September 01, 1999
Caterpillar's Engine Products Division has re-engineered its sales and marketing efforts with the formation of a new marine business unit within this division. The new marketing team, headed by 21-year veteran sales and marketing manager, Jan Arnold, includes more than 370 years of combined experience in the marine engine business. MR/EN recently spoke with Arnold to get her views on the market for engines in the marine industry, as well as her goals and plans for the future of this new consolidated group. It was a group that had a wide-variety of coverage, yet lacked a consolidated or home base - the biggest factor in Caterpillar's (CAT) decision to form a new marine business unit within its engine products division. Although the company had a group dealing with petroleum and EPG's, when it came to a focused, centralized team dealing strictly with engines in the marine industry - the company felt it was at a loss. Enter Jan Arnold, seasoned sales and marketing manager who had spent 21 years not only with Caterpillar but also as sales manager for the marine division of CAT Financial Services and for CAT dealer Thompson Machinery Corp. in Tennessee. Arnold, who holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Administration from Iowa State University, claims the top spot in this new unit, and with a wealth of experience, will undoubtedly lead the way for the group's smooth transition into its place within the company. "This group (marine business unit) focuses on worldwide opportunities within the marine industry," Arnold said. "Now that we are centralized, we can look at the industry from a total perspective." Regarding her strategies for the group, both long and short term, Arnold stresses that effective communications among her team is key. "Timely and accurate communications worldwide is something that needs to be worked on," she said. "I want to ensure that everyone is receiving pertinent information all at the same time and that no one is being left out of the loop." Potentials for the future Arnold hopes to expand the group's scope by becoming more of a system supplier rather than just an engine supplier, as well as broadening the product line into propulsion and auxiliary engines. "Shipyards are looking more to the engine supplier to offer the whole system, not just the engine," Arnold said. "They (shipyards) used to go to a different person for each aspect of the engine, but now they are looking for the supplier to accomplish all of this." She also wants to offer marine certification packaging for all engines where part of the processing will involve the engine already having been certified by classification societies such as Lloyd's Register and Det Norske Veritas before they are ready for operation. Geographically, Arnold has mapped out her targeted areas of which she would like to further expand into - adding on to North America, Europe and Australia, all of which "are already significant contributors to our marine business today." "There is major growth in the Asia-Pacific region now that Asia is recovering from an economic downturn," Arnold said. "In fact, 40 percent of all marine industry sales lie within that region." She added, "While I would like to continue our efforts in North America and Europe, I want to also explore options in Brazil and the military/naval business." In terms of the unit's muscle, which lies in CAT dealer organizations, Arnold was not at all hesitant to express her upbeat attitude toward these groups. "Bar none, the largest strengths are the CAT dealer organizations," she said. "We sell through our dealers because they are internationally known as the best in the business in terms of worldwide coverage." Just how will this new marine business unit enhance CAT's already broad customer base? Arnold cites that the expansion is a positive one because customers will now look to the company as one that is committed to the industry. In essence, the expansion is one that is also based on two facets that will never go out of style - growth and revenue. "We see growth in the marine industry for us is largely due to the focus we've placed on it," Arnold said. "And the measure of that growth is in the revenue and profits."

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