There was once just a small village at the foot of the Yunmen Mountain in Qingzhou City, Shandong Province. It was affectionately nicknamed “Da Bu Ding” by the group of highly-motivated entrepreneurs who worked diligently to transform the barren land into SEM.
The Fast Lane of Development
After nearly 30 years of development, SEM began to demonstrate its strengths in the mid-1980s. The company was listed among Shandong Province’s key invested projects in 1985. With financial support and blueprints in place, the question of where and how to realize these projects became the largest hurdle for SEM. The leadership organized morale-building meetings with employees to discuss the relocation plan. After countless meetings, the small village of Da Bu Ding was chosen.
Nearly one thousand vehicles moved onto the construction site, working day and night continuously, exploding, excavating, transporting and leveling. Nearly 20,000 cubic meters of earth and stones were transported and leveled in just a month. Within the next half year, the 5,000-square meter assembly plant was completed, five months ahead of schedule. In 1986, SEM officially moved to Da Bu Ding, and in 1990, the modern factory with a total area of 17,000 square meters was completed and utilized.
In the following ten years, SEM’s steady development resulted in reinvestments of RMB235 million for infrastructure construction, equipment purchasing and new production-line buildup. The total production capacity increased from less than 500 units in 1990 to 1,000 units in 1995 and reaching 5,000 units in 2002, achieving a significant improvement in operation.
In the late 1990s, executive teams, employing leading management concepts, made every effort to expand international business. In 1999, SEM’s leadership team visited Caterpillar headquarters and facilities in the United States. They were extremely impressed with the large-scale plants equipped with automated equipment, skilled management, high standards of quality control and a full product portfolio. “We want to become the Caterpillar of China” became the long-term goal of the team.
In 2003, SEM saw the most important year in its development. After a thorough inspection and screening, Caterpillar selected SEM as its strategic cooperation partner. In 2008, SEM became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar. SEM and Caterpillar employees share a sense of allegiance to their companies; in many cases, several generations of families have worked in the enterprise. After joining Caterpillar, SEM greatly benefited from technology and management skills improvement with mature and systematic training. Many long-time SEM employees said one year of training in 2008 was the equivalent of ten years of training in the past. Systematic training not only cultivated more talents but also brought more advanced management concepts.
All along, SEM products have earned a good reputation in the market with their durability and reliability. Now with intensity of construction machinery work, the need for periodic replacement of part is steadily increasing. Focusing on the parts and aftermarket service is an important lesson learned by SEM from Caterpillar.
As an industry giant, Caterpillar has always treated parts market with high priority. Under the influence of Caterpillar, SEM has gradually focused on parts service market, which brought considerable profits. Currently, SEM provides overseas customers with genuine parts and high-quality after-sales services relying on Caterpillar’s global dealership networks.
In 2016, to further enhance the SEM brand, Caterpillar approved the endorsement “SEM - A Caterpillar Brand". As a strategic utility brand of Caterpillar, SEM leverages Caterpillar product development processes and proven technology. SEM is providing quality ready-to-run SEM products offering initial affordability, high reliability, simplicity of use and maintenance, and responsive support to help customers build a strong foundation for future success.