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Research paper example essay prompt: Business Industry Analysis - 1918 words

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Business Industry Analysis Industry and Competition Several large companies have focused on the multi-occupant vehicle market, specifically school bus production, in North America. Competitors within the school bus manufacturing industry consist of the Henlys Group PLC, a British based company, and two U.S. bus companies, Collins Industries Inc. and Navistar International. Henlys consists of Blue Bird Corporation, Prevost Car Inc., Nova Bus and TransBus International Ltd. Collins Industries operates seven vehicle companies including Collins Bus Corporation and Mid Bus Corporation that make up their school bus line.

And finally, Navistar International, which also produces school buses, is divided into three principal industry segments. These segments are trucks/buses, engines, and financial services. In October 1999, Henlys acquired Blue Bird Corporation. This horizontal acquisition gave Henlys a competitive advantage in the North American school bus market. Currently, Blue Bird has increased its market share to over 47% making the bus market Henlys core business. Blue Bird, financially, accounts for 59% of total corporate sales and 81% of Henlys profits. Within Blue Bird, school bus sales accounted for 83% of total sales.

Blue Bird offers three styles of small buses and three different large buses, all designed to meet customer needs. They have also teamed up with the Southwest Research Institute to develop the bus of the future, Envirobus. The joint venture was commissioned by the Department of Energy in response to increased pressure from various environmentalist groups to develop buses that are safer and environmentally conscious. This acquisition makes Henlys the largest company in sales of school buses in the North American Market. Besides school buses, Blue Bird also produces commercial buses and recreational vehicles.

Henlys is also able to take advantage of Blue Bird's extensive network of distributors. These areas complement Henlys other areas of operations by building on their core competencies. Prior to the Blue Bird acquisition, Henlys Group used the cooperative strategy of equity strategic alliance to expand its bus and coach operations outside of its borders. With this one acquisition, the Henlys Group has achieved economy of scale and now controls 47% of the school bus market in North America. Henlys equity alliance partner profile includes a partnership with Volvo that jointly owns Prevost car Inc. and Nova bus. This joint venture accounts for a 25% market share in North America's coach market and is the market leader in bus shells for motor homes supplying 80% of that market.

Another alliance is with the Mayflower Corporation in the TransBus International Ltd., which is the fourth-largest bus and coach manufacturer in Europe. As a result of the acquisition and equity alliances, the Henlys Group saw its operating profits soar 119% in 2000. Blue Bird is now the Group's core activity and presently accounts for 81% of the operating profits and sales. Through Blue Bird, Prevost car and Nova bus, Henlys Group has the widest product coverage in the North American bus and coach market. Collins Industrial Corp.

is a leading manufacturer of ambulances, small school buses, commercial buses, and terminal trucks. Collins is known for their innovative ideas in the configuration and set-up of their ambulances and the seating configuration of their small school bus products. Collins has used the acquisition strategy to enter new markets and to overcome entry barriers. The use of acquisition has also given Collins economies of scale within the ambulance and small school bus industry. Collins introduced its first small bus in 1967 to America and became the largest producer of small school buses in the United States after its acquisition of MidBus Inc.

in 1998. They have seen increases in sales in the small bus market. It has attained a backlog in their bus product lines that have increased over 193% between 1998 to 1999. This increased backlog is a result of the market demand related to the replacement of nonconforming vehicles and the reduction of emissions. Collins posted increases in quarterly sales of 81% that in-turn produced a 43% increase in diluted earnings per share.

Net Income increased more than 73% during the same time period. Currently they are experiencing problems within their supply chain. Navistar International Corp. manufactures and markets medium and heavy trucks, school buses, and mid-range diesel engines in North America. Navistar was founded in 1902 under the name International Harvester Company, which was changed in 1986. International Harvester has been an American icon known for its strong presence in the truck and agricultural product markets.

Navistar International is comprised of 8 divisions, with its truck and bus products accounting for 75% of the company's sales and revenues. Navistar also is a leader in the development and production of a mid-range (160 to 300 horsepower) diesel engine. Its engine division contributes 21% to the total amount of Navistar's sales and revenues. Navistar's Bus vehicle center produces school buses and bus chassis that range in size from small capacity to full size conventional buses. This division introduced an integrated conventional school bus and provided the first school bus equipped with the "International Green Diesel Technology Engine" produced by the Navistar's Engine Division. Navistar's "Green Diesel" technology has been recognized with an award from Popular Science for its revolutionary camless engine design that will deliver greater durability, reduce the overall engine weight, and lower the amount of emissions that are produced. Navistar International has used horizontal acquisitions to achieve economies of scale and scope through new innovative and flexible manufacturing technologies. The use of flexible manufacturing will support Navistar International's focused manufacturing approach that will provide the customer a way to custom design their product. Navistar International uses extensive supplier partnerships to produce a strong competitive advantage by delivering a product to the customers more efficiently and effectively.

This group of suppliers includes Goodyear, Akzo Corp., Eaton Corp., and Modline Corp. Economic Trends Buying school buses is much like buying cars. They range from bare essentials, as required by law, to having all the bells and whistles offered by bus manufacturers. Certain aspects of bus features have come up in recent years as to whether the extra cost was worthwhile. One of these costs is LED's, or light-emitting diodes used on stoplights, taillights and turn signals. Some believe that they are safer than the incandescent bulbs most buses currently use.

LED's take less time to attain full brightness compared to the 0.2 seconds it takes an incandescent bulb. The 0.2 seconds can make a large difference when vehicles are traveling at 60 mph. LED's also last longer. The Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada has 118 buses equipped with LED lights, received in 1997, which have not needed to be replaced. However, these longer lasting bulbs come at a greater expense, about $150 more per unit when installed at the factory. Outside of bus options, fuel prices have had a substantial effect on state school bus programs.

With the increased price of fuel, bus operators' fuel allowances are not covering fuel expenses. Therefore, cuts must be made in other areas in order to keep buses running. Nationwide, there are more than 435,000 school buses carrying approximately 22,500,000 children every day. Quite often, the programs that absorb the cuts are the safety programs for bus operators. Typically, bus operators are paid to attend certain safety classes.

After cuts, these classes are offered on a volunteer basis meaning those who need to attend most probably will not; now the safety of millions of children are at stake. One way to try to offset higher fuel budgeting is to buy new, more fuel-efficient buses. New buses will also reduce costs in maintenance and labor as well as provide the most current safety innovations. Transportation budgeting problems also make it difficult to award drivers' with pay increases. This contributes to the on-going shortage of bus drivers whose average hourly wage is $10.76.

School bus sales in the United States reached its highest units sold in 1999; 42,341. According to School Bus Fleet records, this beat the previous high sales record of 40,327 units sold in 1974. Sales hit a low in 1992 with only 28,564 units being sold, but then steadily increased through 1996. Sales dropped in 1997 but jumped back up in 1998, 703 units above those sold in 1996. School Bus Sales - United States and Canada (1999 Sales Year) School bus sales in 1999 were significantly higher than in the previous year for each vehicle type.

In fact, total U.S. sales in 1999 were the highest ever, according to SCHOOL BUS FLEET records. The second-highest sales year was 1974, with 40,327 units. As illustrated, the economy plays a major role in the school bus industry. With rising prices and state school bus funding problems, schools are not able to upgrade their fleet to newer, safer, more fuel-efficient buses.

Funding also contributes to driver pay, which in turn influences the attitude of the driver, again, affecting overall safety. Government and Political Influence State governments as well as the federal government dually govern the school bus industry. The federal government's major role is in setting standards for the manufacturing of school buses. There are a total of 58 regulations governing motor vehicle safety, 35 of which apply to school buses. Some of these include FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) No. 131 - School Bus Pedestrian Safety Devices, FMVSS No. 220 - School Bus Rollover Protection and FMVSS No.

222 - School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection. State laws and regulations govern buses on the highway. Throughout the United States there are more than 500 laws, and even more regulations on state's books governing the school bus industry. State laws and regulations tend to prevail if for no other reason than the fact that school transportation is state-funded. A proposed law being debated by state legislators is the need, or not, for seat belt laws in large school buses (over 10,000 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). New York and New Jersey have passed legislation requiring the installation of lap belts on large school buses.

However, New Jersey is the only state that requires their use. In 1997, 16 state legislatures were faced with seat-belt bills, none of which were passed into law. Florida and Louisiana have taken on a supporting role toward seat-belt legislation by requiring that all buses be equipped with seat belts in the near future. For Florida, the deadline was January 1, 2001, while Louisiana is holding off until June 30, 2004. The timing of these regulations may be off for the fact that NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is actively conducting tests to determine if a three-point seat-belt system is a better safety mechanism as opposed to the two-point lap belt. A three-point system is much like that used in passenger cars.

Tests may also show that simply padding the walls inside the buses may be required or that the current use of compartmentalization is still the best passive occupant restraint system. External safety features include the regulation that all school buses be painted National School Bus Yellow. Buses are often adorned with reflective tape as well. They are also required to have driver-activated stop arms. Social and Cultural Forces/ Human Resources and Labor Relations Collins Bus Company presented awards for Outstanding Sales Performance in 2000 to six dealers from different states in March 2001. They were A-Z Bus Sales in California, Mid-State Truck Service in Wisconsin, Soderholm Sales in Hawaii, Arcola Bus Sales in New Jersey, Western Bus Sales in Oregon, and Midwest Transit in Illinois.

These are called "Circle of Excellence" awards. This is in appreciation for sales performance. Collins is located in Hutchinson, Kansas. In December 2000, they did a large plant expansion and since labor is tight in Hutchinson, Collins invested heavily in plant equipment to get productivity increases without increasing labor. A warranty is given on paint finish on their buses as long as the original owner has the bus.

Blue Bird, Inc. ...

Related: business industry, industry analysis, manufacturing industry, diluted earnings, highway traffic safety administration

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