Careers at Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation’s mission is to partner with customers to deliver superior solutions that safely and efficiently move people and materials at work, around the globe, and around the clock.
Oshkosh Corporation is a provider of specialty vehicles and vehicle bodies. The firm operates four reportable business segments:
- Access Equipment – Consists of JLG, a manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telehandlers used in a wide variety of construction, agricultural, industrial, institutional, and general maintenance applications to position workers and materials at elevated heights.
- Defense – Manufactures military tactical wheeled vehicles for the U.S. Department of Defense.
- Fire & Emergency – Manufactures custom and commercial firefighting vehicles and equipment, aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles, snow removal vehicles, simulators, and other emergency vehicles and broadcast vehicles.
- Commercial – Manufactures rear- and front-discharge concrete mixers, refuse collection vehicles, portable and stationary concrete batch plants and vehicle components and field service vehicles and truck-mounted cranes.
In 1915 William Besserdich and Bernhard Mosling received patents for improvements on four-wheel-drive capability. The men met with many established auto manufacturers about using their deisgn to produce a vehicle, including Packard, Ford, and Studebaker. After no success, they decided to start their own company. Mosling raised capital, while Besserdich created a prototype vehicle design.
In 1917 they founded Wisconsin Duplex Auto Company in Clintonville, Wisconsin. Their prototype was a three-speed, four-cylinder, 3,000-pound truck named Old Betsy. The quality of its four-wheel drive feature garnered the attention of investors. Many of them were based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, so the men relocated there and renamed the firm Oshkosh Motor Truck Manufacturing Company.
The company’s first product to go on sale was the Model A, a two-ton capacity vehicle that cost $3,500. This was followed by the 3.5-ton capacity Model B and the five-ton capacity Model F. The four-wheel drive component distinguished the offerings from existing trucks, and sales grew significantly, from seven vehicles in 1918 to 142 in 1920.
The next two decades saw the company diversify, producing the Model H, a truck with a six-cylinder engine; rear-wheel-drive vehicles; and the W-Series truck, its first major entry into production for military use. Many mining companies bought the W-Series in order to haul ore and many sugar firms purchased them for transportation from plantations to processors.
The end of World War I saw a drop in demand and sales for its products. The company continued to innovated, producing the Model 50-50, the first truck built specifically to carry concrete. It became popular in the ready-mix concrete industry. In 1985 Oshkosh went public. In 1987 the percentage of business derived from the government reached 85%, up from 40% five years prior.
Business model of Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh has a segmented market business model, with customer groups that have slightly different needs. The company targets its offerings at government agencies and commercial clients such as equipment rental and manufacturing firms, home improvement firms, and construction contractors.
Oshkosh offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. It has engaged in 15 major acquisitions since 1996, with purchased firms including Pierce Manufacturing, Kewaunee Fabrications, Jerr-Dan Corporation, London Machinery, McNeilus Companies, CON-E-CO, and JGL Industries. This strategy has enabled it to expand its capabilities and diversify its portfolio.
The company offers convenience by making life simpler for its customers. It maintains a flexible distribution model through which it meets clients at locations most suitable for them, be they job sites or at a municipality’s offices. It also guarantees same-day parts shipment for all products.
The company reduces risk by maintaining high quality standards. It created the Quality Management System so that it could deliver consistent, high quality products and services to customers. As part of the system, it does the following:
- Trains and educates all employees at its facilities on quality principles
- Encourages staff at all levels to understand customer and supplier requirements, measure performance, develop systems and procedures to prevent nonconformance with requirements, and produce continuous improvement in all work processes
- Utilizes quality gates at manufacturing facilities to catch quality issues earlier in the process and to perform a root cause analysis at their source
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It has 13,000 employees and sells its products in over 130 countries. It holds leading market shares in all of its businesses and is the sole supplier of various vehicles to the U.S. Department of Defense. Its prominent brands include:
- Pierce, North America's top fire truck manufacturer
- McNeilus, North America's leader in refuse collection bodies, whose brand concrete mixers are used by more concrete producers than any other
- London, the leading Canadian concrete mixer manufacturer
Lastly, it has won a number of honors, including recognition as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere in 2016 and a “Best of What’s New” Award by Popular Science in 2015.
Oshkosh’s main channels are its direct sales team and its network of dealers and distributors. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and conferences.
Oshkosh’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Oshkosh’s business model entails designing, developing, manufacturing, and distributing its vehicles and vehicle bodies for customers.
Oshkosh’s key partners are the suppliers and subcontractors that provide it with the components it needs to manufacture its products. Specific components are chassis components, such as vehicle frames, engines, transmissions, radiators, axles, tires, drive motors, bearings and hydraulic components; and vehicle body options, such as cranes, cargo bodies, and trailers.
Oshkosh’s main resources are its human resources, who include the product engineers and technicians that design, develop, and manufacture its products, the salespeople that promote it, and the customer service staff members that provide support.
It maintains important physical resources in the form of seven product development/testing facilities and 31 manufacturing facilities across eight U.S. states and Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Mexico, and Romania. Lastly, it places a high priority on intellectual property, with over 800 active domestic and foreign patents.
Oshkosh has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is cost of sales, a variable expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and administration, both fixed costs.
Oshkosh has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the sale of equipment and parts to its customers. Sales typically occur through the signing of short- and long-term contracts.
info: Wilson R. Jones earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the University of North Texas. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer and as VP and General Manager of the Airport Products Business Unit at Oshkosh Corporation.
info: David M. Sagehorn earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and an MBA at Marquette University. He previously served as VP of Business Development and as VP of Finance for Oshkosh’s defense group.
info: Robert H. Sims earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Aquinas College and a Master’s in Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University. He previously served as SVP of Human Resources at Eaton Corporation.
info: Ignacio A. Cortina earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at James Madison University and a JD at Catholic University. He previously served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Oshkosh Corporation.
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