A plant that’s ahead of its time

The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company is using technology to improve a host of issues from quality to customer satisfaction. The plant’s leadership, left to right, includes Zhao He, Manufacturing Engineering Leader; Miguel Kindler, Plant Manager; Chen Hua, General Manager; and Silence Chen, IT Leader.
The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company is using technology to improve a host of issues from quality to customer satisfaction. The plant’s leadership, left to right, includes Zhao He, Manufacturing Engineering Leader; Miguel Kindler, Plant Manager; Chen Hua, General Manager; and Silence Chen, IT Leader.

The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company (BFCEC) is so wired with high-tech tools it can almost identify defects in certain tasks and bottlenecks in production before they happen.

A network of sensors linked to the Internet, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and much more are changing the way the plant operates. Production is up. Quality is up. And customers are happier, too. 

So, it’s perhaps no surprise that the plant was named last month to the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network, an elite list of leaders in applying the technologies of what some call the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“This recognition demonstrates the robustness of Cummins’ advanced manufacturing and management concept,” said Chen Hua, General Manager of Foton-Cummins, which produces more than 250,000 engines a year. “Our efforts on supply chain digitalization and smart manufacturing not only help improve our own business performance, but also ensure that we deliver optimal value to our stakeholders.”

The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Plant
The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company is a massive, two-building facility on the outskirts of China's capital and largest city. It's a joint venture between Cummins and Foton Motor. A solar array on one building generates about 15% of its power needs.

A RARE HONOR

BFCEC was one of 18 companies added to the lighthouse network in January, joining 26 sites previously named to the list. More than 1,000 companies from different sectors across the globe have been assessed for the lighthouse designation, which is managed for the forum by McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm.

“Manufacturing is often the starting point for innovating a new, company-wide operating system powered by the latest technology to achieve new levels of sustainability, agility, speed-to-market, and productivity,” said Enno de Boer, Partner and the leader of McKinsey’s Global Manufacturing Practice. “The value doesn’t stop at the factory door; instead, lighthouses find impact across the entire end-to-end value chain, from suppliers through to customers.”

The forum says the Global Lighthouse Network, established in 2018, serves as “a platform to develop, replicate and scale up innovations, creating opportunities for cross-company learning and collaboration and for setting new benchmarks for the global manufacturing community.”

Network members reflect the awesome potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution, also sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0, which includes everything from collaborative robots to artificial intelligence, augmented reality, advanced analytics and enhanced integration between information technologies and manufacturing operations.  

THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY

BFCEC, a joint venture between Cummins and China’s major commercial vehicle company, Foton Motor, literally offers a glimpse into manufacturing’s future. And its impact extends far beyond the massive two-building campus on the outskirts of China’s capital and largest city.

Here’s one small example of what’s happening at BFCEC. Oil leaks caused by the faulty sealing of metal pans can be a major headache for manufacturers and customers, alike. By bringing together artificial intelligence, special cameras and information technology, a system at the Foton-Cummins plant automatically determines the quality of a pan’s sealing and can reject it for further use if it doesn’t pass inspection. Claims regarding the faulty sealing of pans have been reduced to zero.

Overall, monthly quality claims at BFCEC are down 40% compared to 2017 and the identification of false claims is up 300%. The average number of claims per engine is down almost 70%. Productivity is up more than 40%.

Outside the plant, customers are seeing their fuel consumption rates improved by about 5% and up-time, the amount of time an engine stays in service, has increased by about 10%.

WHAT’S NEXT 

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the changes at BFCEC is that there’s room for improvement. The amount of data collected is ever increasing, which can help with the analyses necessary to find greater efficiencies. Plant officials also believe another third of the plant could still be digitized.

As part of a robust strategy, Cummins officials are investing in similar technological advances in plants around the world, as Industry 4.0 takes shape at the company. Cummins, for example, expected to end 2019 with about 30 collaborative robots sharing space with human employees at more than a dozen locations. They often perform the most repetitive tasks, improving employee health and safety in addition to efficiency. 

Chen Hua says he is excited to share what’s been learned at BFCEC as the 4th Industrial Revolution expands. He says it has the potential to increase production, improve quality, enhance safety and reduce waste.

“We hope that our success marching together with Industry 4.0 will encourage the industry to embrace the future of manufacturing,” he said.

Includes reporting by Diana Zhao.


 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins joins The Valuable 500 to promote disability inclusion

Cummins has long believed diversity is core to business success.
Cummins has long believed diversity is core to business success.

Cummins is taking its diversity and inclusion agenda to the next level by joining The Valuable 500 alongside some of the world’s most influential businesses.

Launched by social entrepreneur and activist Caroline Casey, The Valuable 500 aims to put disability on the global business leadership agenda.

Business leaders around the world are making firm and tangible commitments to eradicating disability exclusion in business. Members span 24 countries, reaching more than 9.3 million employees.

“We are excited to showcase our commitment to disability inclusion by joining The Valuable 500,” said Dennis Heathfield, Cummins’ Executive Director - Inclusion, People with Disabilities and Veterans. “This is one of many steps we are taking to create more inclusive workplaces and communities for people with disabilities. Being part of The Valuable 500 provides a unique platform for Cummins to learn from and contribute to a global collaboration that knits together other multi-nationals with an aligned mission to make the world a more inclusive place for people with disabilities.”

Logo for The Valuable 500 website
The Valuable 500 campaign is supported by business leaders across the globe.

Unveiled at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in January 2019, The Valuable 500 campaign was the first time disability was discussed on the main stage of the meeting with the support of global business leaders.

The campaign is supported by several global business leaders and partners, including Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and Chairman of The Valuable 500; Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson; Virgin Media Chief Operating Officer Jeff Dodds; Bloomberg Chairman Peter Grauer; EY Global Chairman & CEO Carmine di Sibio, and strategic partners Omnicom and Virgin Media.

“We need 500 national and multinational, private sector corporations to be the tipping-point for change and to unlock the business, social and economic value of people living with disabilities across the world,” The Valuable 500 states on its website. “Because the potential of 1.3 billion should not be ignored.”

In addition to Cummins, other companies joining the initiative include Procter & Gamble, IBM, BAE, Total, Herbert Smith, Specsavers, Eli Lilly and Company, Deutsche Bank UK, ARP, Adobe, PVH, Hilton, and Perrigo. 
 

Lauren O'Dell Sidler - Cummins Inc.

Lauren O'Dell Sidler

As a senior communications specialist with Cummins Inc., Lauren O’Dell Sidler works with Cummins leaders to develop and implement communications strategies that reach Cummins’ global audience. 

Cummins named a best place to work for LGBTQ employees

Cummins employees show their support for the LGBTQ community at the 2019 Pride parade in Indianapolis.
Cummins employees show their support for the LGBTQ community at the 2019 Pride parade in Indianapolis.

Cummins received two recent honors for its support of LGBTQ employees and for diversity in general.

The company received a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), designating the company a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” Additionally, Cummins has been named to Forbes magazine’s Best Employers for Diversity list. 

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

Cummins has received a perfect score of 100% on the Corporate Equality Index every year since 2005. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest U.S. civil rights organization for LGBTQ employees. Cummins joins the ranks of more than 680 major U.S. businesses also receiving top marks this year.

Cummins’ perfect score qualified the company for the campaign's new designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

“We are proud to be included on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and designated a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality,’” said Kelley Creveling, Executive Director - Global Diversity & Right Environment at Cummins. “We work each day to create a diverse and inclusive work environment for all of our employees.”

The campaign says the results of this year’s CEI showcase how U.S.-based companies are not only promoting LGBTQ-friendly workplace policies in the United States but also helping advance the cause of LGBTQ inclusion in workplaces abroad.

“The impact of the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index over its 18-year history is profound,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “In this time, the corporate community has worked with us to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive policies, practices and benefits, establishing the Corporate Equality Index as a primary driving force for LGBTQ workplace inclusion in America and across the globe. These companies know that protecting their LGBTQ employees and customers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do -- it is also the best business decision." 

FORBES 

Cummins has also once again been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity for 2020. 

The magazine's Best Employers for Diversity are chosen based on an independent survey from a representative sample of 60,000 employees working for companies employing at least 1,000 people in their U.S. operations. Respondents are asked questions regarding the topics of age, gender equality, ethnicity, disability, LGBTQA+ and general diversity concerning their own employer .
 

Lauren O'Dell Sidler - Cummins Inc.

Lauren O'Dell Sidler

As a senior communications specialist with Cummins Inc., Lauren O’Dell Sidler works with Cummins leaders to develop and implement communications strategies that reach Cummins’ global audience. 

How businesses can be a force for good

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger announces PLANET 2050, the company’s environmental sustainability strategy, at a forum last month. The strategy is consistent with the company's efforts to do good in the communities where it does business.
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger announces PLANET 2050, the company’s environmental sustainability strategy, at a forum last month. The strategy is consistent with the company's efforts to do good in the communities where it does business.

Raised by a single mother caring for two boys, Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says he probably would not be leading a Fortune 500 company today without the government help his family received to lift them out of poverty.

“I’m a beneficiary,” he told an audience earlier this month, recalling his mother's struggle after her divorce, as she cared for her family, worked and went back to school.  “I stand here before you because of a social safety net.”

Linebarger said the free enterprise system in the United States has produced the “most vibrant and successful economic system in the history of the world.” But it cannot provide everything needed for a successful society, like the programs that helped his family. Speaking at Engage Indiana, a forum on "Business as a Force for Good," the Cummins CEO urged business leaders to help fill the gap.

It’s an approach consistent with the Stakeholder Model, long embraced at Cummins, which calls for businesses to consider the needs of all of their stakeholders – employees, suppliers, communities, shareholders and more. It means engaging to help address their challenges, and supporting institutions that protect the air, water and land and that educate and safeguard the public.

“If you can serve all of these stakeholders well, over the long run you will serve each best,” Linebarger said. “And it’s the ‘long run’ that is the key.” 

HOW BUSINESS BENEFITS

The Cummins CEO said at the Dec. 6 forum he believes in the free enterprise system to his core, and job creation is the most important thing a business can do to strengthen the social fabric. Linebarger, however, thinks businesses can and should do more, and he’s concerned about what he sees in society today.

 “What is clear in our country is that people have been left behind,” he said. “And enough people that we just can’t carry on and say, ‘it’s all fine.’ It’s not right.”

Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger visits a Cummins Power Women program in India
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger (left) visits a Cummins Powers Women program in India. The program works to advance equity for women and girls around the world.

Linebarger said the country needs strong institutions to address these and other concerns, which is ultimately in the best interest of  businesses and shareholders, too.

He maintains a key point was missed by many observers earlier this year when the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers in the U.S., issued a revised Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. Previous versions endorsed shareholder primacy. Many commentators believed the new version committed corporations to consider all stakeholders instead.

“We never thought we were giving up on shareholders to help other stakeholders,” said Linebarger, who leads the Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee.  “We are not apologizing for serving shareholders, nor are we saying we think it’s a trade-off. In fact, our basic view is that we serve each of these stakeholders best by serving all. That’s the fundamental truth in the statement.”

It’s a key tenet of the Stakeholder Model, which has been embraced at Cummins for nearly 50 years, going back to the leadership of J. Irwin Miller. Miller openly challenged those at the time who maintained a business should only focus on its bottom line.

Cummins celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, which Linebarger says is evidence that the model works.

“When you are planning for long term sustainability, to be a prosperous part of your community for 100 years, at one time in your history one of those stakeholders is going to be the key to your survival,” he said at the forum sponsored by the Indianapolis Business Journal and the state of Indiana..

“In our case, each of those stakeholders has been the key to our survival many, many times,” Linebarger told the business leaders at the forum. “But I promise you that one of them will be the difference between you making it and not making it.”

THEORY INTO ACTION

Cummins has put the Stakeholder Model to work throughout its history. Here are just a few recent initiatives:

  • Cummins Powers Women, the company’s $11 million program started in 2018 to advance equity for women and girls around the world.
  • PLANET 2050, Cummins’ recently announced environmental sustainability strategy to address environmental challenges like climate change.
  • Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities, the company’s initiative to train disadvantaged youth in employable technical skills and connect them to good jobs in their communities.

Not all actions, however, are easy or fun. Cummins recently announced it would be reducing its workforce by 2,000 positions – about 3% of its workforce – to address challenging economic times. 

Linebarger said workforce reductions are “the toughest decision I have to make.” They run counter to the most basic way business can be a force for good: create jobs.  

“But I want to be clear with you that I do that, I make those tough decisions, because I believe I have an obligation to my stakeholders to provide a  sustainable, growing institution for another 100 years.”

Linebarger is hopeful that eventually, once the company is on firm financial footing, Cummins will be able to create more jobs, create power technologies that won’t impact the world’s carbon footprint, and help more people.

“We have some important problems to solve,” he said. 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins sees bright future in company’s use of onsite solar

Crews started installing a new solar array atop the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company in China last month.
Crews started installing a new solar array atop the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company in China last month.

Cummins is making a significant investment in solar energy, projecting it will have 35 onsite solar projects completed by the end of 2020.

And that’s just the beginning. The projects completed by the end of 2020 are expected to collectively meet about 3.5% of the company's power needs. Cummins believes it could eventually meet about 10% of its electricity needs through onsite solar.

: The Cummins plant in Juarez, Mexico, added a solar array over part of its parking lot in 2018.
The Cummins plant in Juarez, Mexico, added a solar array over part of its parking lot in 2018. 

“We believe onsite solar photovoltaic is important, but by itself won’t achieve our carbon reduction goals,” said Mark Dhennin, Director of Energy & Environment at Cummins. “That’s why we need off-site projects, too, like our support for the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in northwest Indiana.”

Cummins’ share of the wind farm expansion, through a virtual power purchase agreement, has a peak generation capacity of about 75 megawatts (MW), which will produce the equivalent of about 28% of the company’s global electricity needs. The electricity doesn’t go directly to a Cummins’ facility, but rather provides an off-set of renewable power that goes to the grid.

The solar and wind initiatives are part of Cummins’ goal to increase its use and promotion of renewable energy. The company wants to do its part to address the  world’s environmental challenges such as climate change.

THE SPREAD OF SOLAR

Cummins currently has completed solar arrays at 12 locations around the world from Australia to North America. Work is taking place on new solar installations at 16 additional Cummins sites, including 12 in India. Arrays are planned at another nine Cummins facilities, including sites in Nigeria, Romania and Australia.

The largest solar array within the company is on top of the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company (BFCEC) in Beijing, China, one of the company’s busiest plants. Plant Manager Miguel Kindler says the array on top of the larger of the two buildings at BFCEC was constructed in 2016 and covers about 650,000 square feet or roughly two-thirds of the roof. It generates about 15% of the building’s electricity needs.

The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company in Beijing, China is adding an array to its second building (far right).
The Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company in China is adding an array to its second building (far right).

Crews recently started work on a second array atop the other building at the plant. While smaller, the new array will generate about the same amount of energy as the larger installation thanks to the latest technology and is conservatively projected to supply 15% to 20% of the second building’s electricity needs.

“When you are talking about 15% to 20% of a building’s energy consumption, that’s a pretty nice bump,” Kindler said.

Not every Cummins site, however, is a good candidate for solar. The company bases its decisions on installing solar on a range of factors, including economic circumstances in addition to environmental conditions, such as how much sun a site receives. That’s another reason Dhennin and his team are exploring off-site options. 

GOAL DRIVEN

The spread of solar comes as Cummins wraps up work on its 2020 environmental sustainability goals and turns its attention to the company’s 2030 goals and 2050 aspirations included in the recently announced PLANET 2050 strategy. The 2020 goals call for the company to “increase the portion of electricity Cummins uses derived from renewable sources.”

The 2030 goals included in the PLANET 2050 strategy call for reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and operations by 50%. Increasing the use of renewable power would significantly help toward that target.

PLANET 2050 logo
Cummins' PLANET 2050 strategy is designed to guide the company's efforts addressing climate change and other environmental challenges.

The company’s 2050 aspirations include having a net positive environmental impact everywhere the community operates and a near zero local environmental impact, which would also both benefit from using and promoting renewable energy.

“It’s clear that renewable energy will play an important role if Cummins is to reach its goals and aspirations,” Dhennin said. “I think we’re off to a good start, but there’s significantly more to be done."

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

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