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Backhoe Company's Real Secret Of Success

Aug 17, 2007
A history of setting industry standards by letting consumers' expectations for product performance and concerns for safety take center stage is Case's real claim to fame.

Inventor Jerome Case founded the company in 1842. What began as a company meant to build threshing machines has been transformed into a major manufacturer of construction equipment. The company's longevity in a highly competitive arena reflects the success of their commitment to the industry and the consumer.

Legend details the company founder's initial commitment to producing quality machines and setting the highest standards in customer care. In 1884, upon hearing of a Case dealer's denial of assistance to a Minnesota farmer with a broken thresher, Jerome Case himself traveled from Racine, Wisconsin to repair the machine himself. A crowd had assembled to see the company founder attempt to repair the broken thresher. When it was found to be of such poor quality that repair was impossible, Jerome promptly doused the thresher with kerosene and set it on fire. The defective thresher was replaced with a brand new, fully functioning model the very next day.

Case started in the construction industry in the early 19th century manufacturing steamrollers and road graders. By 1886 it was the world's largest manufacturer of steam engines. Case bought American Tractor Corp. in 1957 and merged with New Holland in 1999, forming CNH Global. Other mergers and acquisitions have taken place along the way, as Case worked towards improving the safety and capabilities of farming equipment while developing innovative construction equipment to the benefit of the industry and the consumer.

By 1967, sales in their agricultural equipment were equal to Case's construction equipment's performance. Separate divisions to better service each market were created through reorganization in 1968. Striving for the safest machinery designs throughout their history is another value reflected in Case's history. In 1998, they were the first to provide ride control on backhoes and the first to offer this feature on skid steers. Today, a huge variety of Case machines are sold and serviced in over 150 countries throughout the world. .

Insistence on staying American Made reflects Case's genuine values, and has been recognized in national and international circles. Their backhoes were listed in Fortune's 1988 "100 Products America Makes Best." The company designs and makes its own engines, transmissions, gears and other components.

In 1994, parent company Tenneco, Inc. began major reductions in private ownership by offering Case share sales to the public. Case became nearly 80% publicly owned by 1995. Case's 1995 net income doubled their 1994 financial performance, soaring from $165 million to $346.

Striving for the safest machinery designs throughout their history is another value reflected in Case's history. In 1998, they were the first to provide ride control on backhoes and the first to offer this feature on skid steers.

In a profit-driven world of outsourcing and quality compromises, the success and continued commitment of a company to its consumers' well-being and the industry it serves is an example more should model.
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