Bleustein: What we've learned over the years is that you can't over-communicate. We have a newsletter that goes to all employees, location newsletters, town hall meetings with management, and constant communication from supervisors. There's also a silent video feed with data about the company on monitors in dining rooms, the lobby, and hallways. We have hotlines so employees can call in questions, so we can funnel them to the right person. And there's an intranet called RIDE [Rapid Information Delivery and Exchange].

American Way: The average age of Harley customers has risen from 38.7 in 1987, when much of the reorganization was started, to 44.4 now. How is Harley going to bring in younger customers?
Bleustein:
Actually, the age of our customers has been stable for five years, and we're making efforts to broaden our base to younger riders.

Our Riders Edge course has provided training through our dealers to almost 6,000 people, half of them women and a third 18 to 34. We use our Buell Blast motorcycle, which weighs half as much as a Hog, and it's easy to operate.

We also are bringing in new riders through our rental program. Last year we had 110,000 rental days - once people get in the saddle, they don't want to get off! And our new V-Rod has a sleek design with a liquid-cooled engine that appeals to a whole new group of enthusiasts.

Even though demand exceeds supply, we can't be complacent, and I tell everyone at Harley-Davidson that we need to act as if we were being chased by 10 fiery demons if we want to continue to succeed.

hog heaven
at harley-davidson, employees are rewarded in many ways, tangible and intangible. perhaps that's why the company has been named one of fortune magazine's "best companies to work for" every year since 1997.