When an order for a new Cat® 777G off-highway truck comes in, a process begins that can take up to 20 weeks to delivery – a span of time that doesn’t always work in today’s fast-paced and competitive business arena. That’s where Caterpillar’s Engineered Value Chain approach comes in. It’s the innovative way Caterpillar is redesigning its end-to-end business to better understand market requirements and meet customer expectations.
Caterpillar’s off-highway truck team realized success with its Engineered Value Chain program when it launched a finish to order (FTO) pilot build of the Cat 777G. The team’s goal: to maximize speed to the customer.
When the pilot was completed, the team had shaved eight weeks off delivery to the customer. At the same time, Caterpillar reduced the number of configurations by over 80 percent without reducing customer choice.
With FTO, the chassis is pre-built with upgraded options, such as common fuel lines and extended-life brakes. The chassis is held in strategic inventory so that when an order comes in, we can box the components and ship the order to the dealer for final assembly, thereby driving simplicity, improving quality and stabilizing our supply.
Another Engineered Value Chain program leveraged a similar FTO build strategy to better meet customer needs. Caterpillar’s wheel excavator team in Grenoble, France, delivered an Cat® M320F wheel excavator that perfectly matched the configuration and application needs of the customer – while reducing lead time from an average of 12 weeks to four weeks – a 66 percent reduction.
The success of our Engineered Value Chain programs demonstrates Caterpillar’s ability to use different build strategies – in this case semi-finished machines – to reduce lead times and better meet customer needs. We are improving our end-to-end business by simplifying our product offerings and planning more efficient build schedules. We can then deliver the product the way the customer wants it … when the customer wants it.