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Autor: anton • June 10, 2011 • 2,306 Words (10 Pages) • 1,016 Views
One of the most important questions anybody should ask when starting their own business, regardless of the industry, is what are my customer needs, wants and demands. This was no different for Edwin Hunter, founder of Hunter Industries, when he decided to start his own company. In 1981, Edwin Hunter, "retired" from Toro Inc. and started his own business in San Marcos, CA. With more than 30 years of experience in the irrigation industry and a great number of patents to his name, Mr. Edwin Hunter had a huge advantage over other start up companies.
The company we selected is Hunter Industries. They are located in San Marcos, CA and have manufacturing plants in Tijuana (Mexico), Cary (North Carolina) and offices all over the world. Hunter Industries, a family owned company, is a manufacturer of irrigation products. They consider themselves "the world's leading manufacturer of irrigation equipment for the landscape and golf course industry" (website). The company has been in business for over 25 years and continues to be family operated. The company's mission statement is "To be the Landscape professional's first choice for irrigation products and services" (website). The company is headed by CEO, Richard E. Hunter, who joined his dad, brother and sister and in 1993 assumed complete control of the company. The company holds over 250 patents and over 40 trademarks. It is estimated that Hunter employs over 1,100 employees world-wide.
Hunter's full array of products include rotors, sprays, valves, controllers, sensors etc... However, the most significant product line has been the rotor line, which put Hunter on the map in the irrigation industry. With the introduction of the PGP line, Hunter Industries became a pioneer in the industry. As a matter of fact, this new concept of a "pop-up gear-driven rotor revolutionized the irrigation industry" (website), to the point where all of their competitors began to imitate this product. Hunter's contributions to the industry also came in the form of other products such as the sprays and controllers lines. On the controller line, Hunter introduced ACC controller, which "brings the convenience and versatility of modularity" to this type of advanced controller.
In its short life, Hunter Industries has had a significant number of accomplishments. Just to name a few:
- The first pop-up gear-driven rotor (PGP) is introduced to the market (1983)
- The PS spray head with arc nozzles proves to be a huge success in Europe (1986)
- Richard E. Hunter becomes CEO (1993),
- Three new product lines are launched PRO C, PRO SPRAY and PGV (2000)
- The wireless sensor line is expanded with the wireless rain/freeze (2004)
- The ET (Evapotranspiration) system is introduced (2006)
All of these events, along with many more, have propelled Hunter Industries to become a major player in the irrigation industry.
The irrigation industry is made up of various segments. Some companies specialize in agriculture irrigation. While other manufactures, such as Hunter Industries, focus on the residential, industrial and golf segments. There are only a handful of companies in this segment of the industry namely Rainbird, Hunter Industries and Toro Inc. These competitors share a significant portion of the industry while a few other smaller companies make up a very small part of the industry. All of these three companies are vertically integrated and have a variety of irrigation products and services. These companies are a significant part of California's manufacturing industry since all three of them have significant manufacturing facilities in the area.
This industry is promoted through an independent entity, the Irrigation Association. It was formed in 1949 and its membership is worldwide. All the members share a common vision "water conservation through efficient irrigation" (website). The main purpose of the Irrigation Association is to provide a voice "for the industry on public policy issues related to standards, conservation and water-use on local, national and international levels", to act as a source, raise awareness, offer professional training and unite irrigation professionals. They organize and sponsor shows throughout the USA in an annual basis. Along with providing a voice for its members, the Irrigation Association has taken a proactive role in the many water conservation initiatives in various communities. They have helped promote initiatives such as the "SMART" irrigation technology to help alleviate the droughts in different communities.
As far as regulation in this industry, it has become a very important topic in this industry. The need for water conservation has driven the EPA to become more involved in this industry. Currently, there are a small number of which have enacted laws or ordinances. For example, Florida requires the use of rain sensors in commercial and public developments, according to Jeff Carowitz of Strategic Force Marketing. (Warde 2006) The EPA, in conjunction with the IA, has endorsed and is advocating the SMART program initiatives. These initiatives call for the expanded use smart controllers in all commercial and new housing developments. They are also "taking preliminary steps to establish a national, voluntary and market-based program to promote water-efficient products" (Irrigation.org 2007). This program will focus both on indoor use products as well as outdoor use products.
Hunter definitely understands consumers and the marketplace, which has allowed them to design an efficient customer driven marketing strategy. In order to design a customer-Driven marketing strategy that will succeed, the marketing manager must decide what customers they will serve and how to serve them best. As far as irrigation goes, Hunter has set out to market their products globally to various segments of their industry. With only a few companies supplying this huge market, it is possible to serve most customers, given that they need an automated irrigation system or service. If we were to divide the market into segments, we would find four major areas residential, industrial, agriculture, and golf. Hunter serves three of those major segments. Now, the areas that require irrigation in these segments are quite different because of size, but are similar in that the products and services used are somewhat similar. Hunter Industries has a wide-variety