2015 Year in Review

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Business Review

Customer & Dealer Support

A Conversation With

Robert B. Charter

Group President, Customer & Dealer Support

Customer & Dealer Support is built to strengthen Caterpillar’s product support excellence by bringing a strong focus to Cat® equipment and customer service and delivering outstanding dealer development. This group supports customers and dealers in a variety of ways, such as providing employee equipment training on job sites, supplying aftermarket parts and service support and offering e-business and equipment management solutions. The segment also includes the product portfolio for forestry, paving, industrial and waste products, and global on-highway trucks. This group is also responsible for dealer development and administration of a wholly-owned dealer in Japan. Key strengths are the ability to manufacture parts and components, provide remanufacturing solutions and deliver unmatched parts availability to dealers and customers anywhere in the world.

You just completed your first year as a group president for Caterpillar. What did you learn in your first year?

It was a challenging year in terms of the industries we serve, but despite the challenges, I was pleased to see how focused our employees continued to be.

Where do you think that we excel?

I love our end-to-end structure. I think it’s one of the best things we’ve done in the many years that I’ve been associated with Caterpillar. The art in our organization is managing the matrix well, using the synergy and the volume across the organization, and then bringing that focus to meet the needs of our customers. Getting those two things right really makes a difference. In this new role, I get a much broader look at how well we do when we’re pulling in the same direction.

How well have we executed Across the Table?

We really introduced the Across the Table concept to our dealers at the beginning of 2014 and spent most of that year aligning and understanding the initiatives in order to discover how we deliver consistent service that’s world class. We’ve made great progress. Our dealers are aligned and engaged as we work toward our 2018 goals. 2015 was our first year of real execution, but there’s more to do, so in 2016 and 2017 we want to continue those efforts to stay on track.

What are the top concerns and opportunities for our dealers?

Dealers around the world see the same things as we do inside Caterpillar. They have the same concerns about our cyclical end markets, particularly mining and oil. They’re really trying to resize their businesses to be efficient and deliver great service to their customers. It’s very, very similar to what we see inside Caterpillar.