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Business Strategy - Caterpillar's Restructuring

            The aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which market maturity influenced the restructuring phase that Caterpillar underwent after it was nearly put out of business in the 1980s. It will be argued that surely market maturity played a central role in the company's restructuring, as the increase of competition and the need for product innovation brought up the need to develop an effective action plan. However, it was also the over-managed organization of the company itself that contributed to this degenerating stage and that therefore drove the restructuring process. Indeed, it will be argued that because Caterpillar had enjoyed reliable profits, internal organizational issues had been ignored, and the lack of information about the external environment decreased, causing Caterpillar to grew out of touch with the realities of the market. Therefore, as the global recession grew along with the runaway inflation that kicked in the 1980s, Caterpillar's flawed structure was not able to successfully respond to the external environment, and the company became an easy target for competitors. This argument will be developed throughout this essay according to the following structure: initially, the implications of market maturity for Caterpillar will be assessed within the framework of the Product Life Cycle (PLC) theory; secondly the limits of Caterpillar's original structure will be discussed in order to gain an insight into the internal problems that undermined the company's opportunities; thirdly the restructuring process will be taken into consideration in order to assess how the company's performance improved in terms of market, production, finance, and efficiency. Finally the conclusion will be drawn that both internal and external factors play a central role in a company's restructuring process. It is indeed because of this two-fold dependence that a company's long-term profitability cannot be ensured simply through a successful reorganization.

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