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The Lean Machine

Melden Sie sich bei getAbstract an, um die Zusammenfassung zu erhalten.

The Lean Machine

How Harley-Davidson Drove Top-Line Growth and Profitability with Revolutionary Lean Product Development


15 Minuten Lesezeit
10 Take-aways
Audio & Text

Was ist drin?

Take the high road to innovation and product development the Harley-Davidson way.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


The Harley-Davidson Motor Company revels in the marketing image it has crafted and maintained for more than a century. Mere mention of the motorcycle giant conjures up visions of tattooed, muscle-bound renegades blazing an intimidating trail on the nation’s highways. Harley’s corporate environment exists in stark contrast to this image. Their staff features progressive, astute individuals who enjoy a stellar reputation for innovative business practices. Author Dantar P. Oosterwal, Harley’s former director of product development, is eminently qualified to critique the organization’s operation. To his credit, Oosterwal resists engaging in self-congratulatory back-slapping. Instead, he presents a backstage tour of Harley-Davidson, expounding on its philosophies, procedures and problem-solving methods. Oosterwal, who earned a master’s degree in management at MIT, focuses on business theories and dynamics, not personalities. While the book is not necessarily geared toward novice professionals, getAbstract nevertheless believes that Oosterwal’s mantra should resonate loudly within corporations everywhere: Practice innovation and emphasize quality – or risk extinction.


Product Development Holds the Key

Organizational success depends on product development. A recent survey revealed that top companies draw nearly 50% of their profits from new products. Product development plays an even more critical role as upgrades, updates and technology shorten the life of goods and services. Organizations must innovate more rapidly and effectively.

To their detriment, most companies are locked into antiquated thinking, believing they can apply yesterday’s business practices and attitudes to today’s environment. They might spend years developing products that can become obsolete in months. Fear of change, or an unwillingness to consider an alternative business model, will almost always guarantee failure. Dedication, hard work and loyalty – once a proven formula for prosperity – are no longer sufficient. Organizations determined to endure must restructure and reinvent themselves.

Harley-Davidson’s corporate culture reflects its commitment to its “beliefs and values.” Passion permeates all levels of the organization. Fancy offices are nonexistent; it’s hard to tell the managers from the employees. Harley-Davidson executives ride their bikes ...

About the Author

Dantar P. Oosterwal was director of product development at Harley-Davidson and vice president of innovation at Sara Lee.

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    S. D. 1 decade ago
    Really shows how change drives motivation..a must read for new leaders..
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    V. S. 1 decade ago
    Embracing constant change as a passion drives innovation ... Great takeaway. Excellent read !