Have you ever visited a construction site or seen an under-construction road or a building? I am sure you have. Well, in such places, there is one thing in common: the symbol “CAT.”
Regardless of where ever you go, as long as you’re at a construction place, everything you’ll see will have a CAT logo, including shoes, construction vehicles, clothes, accessories, generators, and whatnot.
This must have made you curious to know what sort of brand CAT is since it has such a diverse portfolio, from manufacturing shoes to heavy construction vehicles. Well, to start off, the name of this brand is Caterpillar, and its logo is CAT, which represents the first three letters of the name Caterpillar.
Since Caterpillar is the world’s top construction equipment manufacturing company, let’s get some insight into this company by conducting a Caterpillar PESTLE Analysis.
However, before we proceed to Caterpillar’s PESTLE analysis, we must know about Caterpillar’s history and current operations.
The history of Caterpillar tells us that the roots of the well-known brand can be traced back to the late 1800s when a guy named Benjamin Holt manufactured a combined Harvester and the first steam traction engine tractor.
After manufacturing these vehicles, he decided to incorporate his products under the name of The Holt Manufacturing Company in 1892. The company kept manufacturing steam and gasoline-powered tractors and registered “Caterpillar” as its trademark in 1910.
In 1914, The Holt Manufacturing Company provided tractors and equipment in World War I under the banner of Caterpillar. This helped the brand to grow. However, to attain further growth, The Holt Manufacturing Company merged with one of the best tractor-manufacturing companies, C. L. Best Tractor Co., to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co. in 1925.
The same year, Caterpillar introduced its first tractor line. These tractors were used in constructing many sites, such as Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge. In the 1940s, the brand manufactured other products besides tractors, such as bulldozer blades and pull-type scrapers.
As Caterpillar began to expand its product line, its sales increased. In 1950, Caterpillar established its first subsidiary in England. From there onwards, the brand kept increasing the size of its portfolio by manufacturing all sorts of construction vehicles and machinery.
However, it diversified its portfolio with time and launched Caterpillar’s clothing line and footwear. This made Caterpillar famous in the clothing and footwear industry as well.
Currently, Caterpillar is considered the best construction equipment manufacturer and one of the best clothing and footwear manufacturers. In 2022, the brand generated $56.6 billion in revenue.
Moreover, it has expanded its geographical presence worldwide. Caterpillar sells its products in nearly 200 countries and has half its manufacturing plants overseas. Moreover, Caterpillar requires a big workforce to carry out its operations which is why it employs 107,700 workers.
Now that we are done looking at Caterpillar’s history, and current operations let’s proceed and conduct a Caterpillar PESTLE analysis. Before we do that, you need to know what PESTLE analysis is.
PESTLE analysis is a tool used by analysts to see how different macroeconomic variables impact an organization’s operations. A PESTLE analysis (a more detailed alternative to PEST analysis) highlights the impact of Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors on an organization’s operations.
Since now that you are aware of what a PESTLE analysis is, let’s proceed and see how different external factors impact Caterpillar.
Many factors affect the operations of an organization. However, political factors are also one of the factors that create an impact on the performance of a business since all businesses practice under the laws and policies made by the government.
Like any other company, Caterpillar is also impacted by the political factors in its surroundings. For example, political stability is essential for Caterpillar since it helps the business to forecast its growth and predict its sales in the future.
However, if there is political instability, uncertainty will arise in the market, and Caterpillar won’t be able to forecast its future accurately. Moreover, political stability is also essential for Caterpillar because it mainly offers construction equipment, and construction directly relates to political stability.
If there is political instability, people and the government won’t initiate construction projects. As a result, the sales of Caterpillar will go down.
Besides political stability, government policies also have a significant impact on the operations of Caterpillar. Since the brand operates in multiple countries, it relies on government policies to ensure the smooth running of its business.
Besides government policies, corruption and the behavior of bureaucracy really impacts any business. Since Caterpillar is a huge company, it looks forward to operating in a country with less corruption and efficient bureaucracy, so it doesn’t have to deal with administrative problems.
Businesses are an integral part of the economy since they act as a catalyst for generating economic activity. Thus, businesses are significantly impacted by economic factors. This section will shed light on how Caterpillar is affected by economic factors such as interest rate, exchange rate, inflation, etc.
Every business keeps a close eye on the economic condition of the country where it is operating because fluctuating economic indicators can create a significant impact on businesses.
Interest rate holds great importance for businesses since it impacts the sales of businesses and influences their growth. A high-interest rate can affect the operations of Caterpillar negatively since it will discourage people from diverting their money to construction projects.
Moreover, a high-interest rate will discourage investors from taking loans from the bank for investment in the construction industry. As a result, the number of construction projects will decrease, and Caterpillar will observe low sales.
Besides that, inflation significantly impacts the sales of Caterpillar since high inflation will lead to low disposable income in consumers’ pockets. Hence they won’t buy the products of Caterpillar.
Other than that, unemployment also impacts the operations of Caterpillar, like other businesses. For example, suppose there is low unemployment. In that case, Caterpillar will not have to offer high wages to workers to incentivize them to work for Caterpillar. Since there is high unemployment, workers will agree to work at lower wages.
In this way, the level of unemployment in society will impact the operational cost of Caterpillar.
Businesses need to know the social norms of the area where they are operating, or else they can receive severe backlash from the people. Therefore, this factor of the PESTLE analysis will highlight the social, demographic, and other societal factors that impact business of Caterpillar.
Since Caterpillar operates globally, it needs to pay attention to social factors because they vary from country to country. For example, Caterpillar has to offer the same positions and wages to both genders in societies that believe in gender equality.
Moreover, Caterpillar has to analyze the demographic situation of countries where it operates so that it can offer products that are according to the demography of that specific area. For example, Caterpillar will offer cool and trendy clothing and footwear products in markets where most consumers are young.
Moreover, Caterpillar also has to look at people’s shopping behavior to understand whether they prefer shopping online or through physical retailing shops. After analyzing this, it has to decide whether to invest in developing an online shopping store in that society.
In today’s era, technological factors impact the operations of businesses significantly. In this section, we will look at some of the technological factors that impact the operations of Caterpillar.
Technological developments take place daily. Therefore, Caterpillar needs to adopt the latest technological developments and use them in its favor. For example, the recent emergence of e-commerce allows Caterpillar to focus on online sales.
Moreover, the use of social media for networking and marketing purposes has increased significantly in the business industry. Caterpillar can also make the most out of social media by launching its marketing campaigns on social media platforms. This can increase the sales of Caterpillar.
Besides the usage of the internet, Caterpillar has to keep a close eye on the technological developments that are taking place in the automotive industry. For example, car brands like Tesla make electric vehicles using the latest technology. This exerts pressure on Caterpillar to launch high-tech construction vehicles.
Every business has to abide by the laws of where it is operating. This section will highlight how different legal factors impact Caterpillar.
Caterpillar must give great importance to legal factors since they determine the future of businesses. If Caterpillar wants to operate smoothly, it must ensure that it is protecting the rights of its laborers, or else strict actions can be taken against the brand that will impact its operation adversely.
Moreover, Caterpillar must also ensure that it handles its consumers’ data carefully. In recent times, many big companies have paid huge fines since they couldn’t protect their consumers’ data. Heavy penalties are imposed in case of data breaches. However, in some cases, companies may no longer be able to operate.
In 2017, a company named Equifax had to pay $575 million as a penalty because it couldn’t protect its consumers’ data. This penalty remains the highest penalty ever imposed on a company in case of a data breach.
Other than that, Caterpillar must abide by patent laws and intellectual property regulations, or the brand may have to face heavy fines. Besides the fines, lawsuits will create a bad image of the brand, negatively impacting the brand image.
The last section of the PESTLE analysis takes environmental factors into account that impact the operations of different organizations. In this section, we will have a look at some of the environmental factors that affect the operations of Caterpillar.
Governments all over the globe have started taking the initiative to protect the environment. Awareness is being spread by the government to educate their people about issues like global warming and climate change.
Since the automobile industry is responsible for emitting more than 9% of the annual greenhouse gases, governments worldwide are making policies to force automobile manufacturers to manufacture environmentally friendly vehicles.
As discussed earlier, Caterpillar is famous for manufacturing heavy construction vehicles. Unfortunately, these vehicles emit significant CO2 and other dangerous gases. As a result, Caterpillar needs to install catalytic converters and manufacture environment-friendly vehicles, or it can face heavy fines.
Moreover, increasing problems related to climate change cause disruption in the supply chain. This increases the operational cost of businesses. Similarly, Caterpillar is getting affected by climate change. Due to extreme weather conditions and natural disasters, Caterpillar is facing problems in the supply chain.
This supply disruption will increase Caterpillar’s operational cost, and the brand will observe losses.
Caterpillar is the top construction equipment manufacturer in the world. It has managed to maintain its position in the market for decades. Although Caterpillar is a huge company, there are still factors in the external environment that impact its operations.
To analyze these external factors, we decided to carry out a Caterpillar PESTLE analysis. However, before that, we looked at Caterpillar’s history and current operations in detail.
After that, we conducted Caterpillar’s PESTLE analysis. In this PESTLE analysis, we discussed how Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors impact Caterpillar.
Caterpillar’s PESTLE analysis discusses the external factors that influence the operations of Caterpillar. However, to see what internal factors affect Caterpillar, look at its SWOT analysis.