Cummins: A Global Power Leader

Celebrating 100 years, and looking forward to the next 100.

The rise of Cummins - 100 years old in 2019 - from a tiny machine shop in Columbus, Indiana (USA), to a global power leader offering a broad portfolio of products, is a story right in drama, a story of trials and triumphs. 

Clessie Cummins, founder of Cummins Inc.
Clessie Cummins, founder of Cummins Inc. 

Cummins Engine Co. was founded on Feb 3rd, 1919, with William G. Irwin, a banker, supplying the starting capital. Irwin had hired Clessie Cummins in 1908 to drive and maintain his car and later set him up in business as an auto mechanic. 

Cummins, a self-taught mechanical genius, was convinced that the engine technology invented by Rudolph Diesel in the 1890s - while still unproven commercially - held great promise for its fuel economy and durability. 

Cummins started working full-time on diesel engines in 1919 when he heard that giant American retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. would buy single-cylinder engines produced under license to Hvid. Clessie persuaded Irwin to negotiate a contract with Sears for 4,500 1.5 and 3 horsepower (hp) Hvid engines, but the beginning was inauspicious. Sears said the engines were defective and the contract was canceled in 1922 and Clessie went back to the drawing board.

The Critical Breakthrough

Clessie continued to experience pain, his experimental engines ripping the sides out of his fishing boats or tearing themselves to remnants. Then he made breakthroughs that solved critical problems of injection timing. He also created a fuel injector some experts described as 'simpler than a fountain pen.'

In 1924, emerging out of the swirl of innovation and problem solving, came the company's first distinctive engine line, the Model F (for four-cycle), the early editions of which were installed in fishing trawlers. These were believed to be the very first diesel-powered fishing vessels in North America. 

The Model F proved so economical that its popularity spread to other applications - generator sets, drills, shovels, and air compressors. The engine had one or two pistons, bolted as separate units to a common base, and developed 12.5 hp at 600 rpm from a 5.5-inch bore and a 7.5-inch stroke. 

On Christmas Day in 1929, Clessie took W.G. Irwin for a ride in America's first diesel-powered automobile - a Cummine marine engine-driven Packard. 

With his diesel engine and unique fuel injection system finally coming together and being used to repower trucks originally fitted with petrol engines, a dramatic leap forward in the evolution of diesel technology was realized. 
 

Clessie in 1931 with the Dusenburg, powered by the Model U engine, which set the world speed record of 100.755mph in Florida. 

Capturing Global Attention

With a new infusion of Irwin capital, Clessie Cummins set out to prove that his diesel engines could conquer the road and he began to capture the world's attention through a series of creative, headline-making events in diesel-powered trucks, buses, and cars. 

In one celebrated run, Clessie piloted a Cummins-powered truck coast-to-coast (New York to Los Angeles) on $11.22 worth of furnace oil. The truck traveled 3,214 miles and averaged 43.02 miles per hour. 

He also set a new world diesel-powered record of 100.755 mph in a race car at Daytona Beach, Florida. In yet another stunt in a diesel passenger car, Clessie drove his Cummins-powered Auburn from New York to San Francisco in 1935 on $7.63 worth of fuel. The Cummins Model A aluminum 6-cylinder engine in the Auburn was the world's first light diesel designed exclusively for a car. 

J. Irwin Miller, the great-nephew of W.G. Irwin, became general manager in 1934 and went on to lead the company to international prominence over the next four decades. In 1937, Cummins earned its first profit.

Clessie (1932) waving the goodbye to New York City as he set off for his coast-to-coast tour.

The company's first diesel engine designed specifically for highway trucking - the 6-cylinder Model H rated at 125 hp - was proving very successful. 

The 672 cu.in. displacement engine had two valves per cylinder and gained a reputation as a remarkable workhorse with its power, fuel-efficiency, and reliability. As truckers recommended the engine to their colleagues, the business began to flourish. 

In 1941, Cummins began offering the transport industry's first 100,000-mile warranty and a year later the US Army ordered 5,000 H Model engines for trucks. During World War II, most of the company's output went to the war effort. Cummins engines endured the harshest conditions, from the tropics to the sub-arctic. The convoys that supplied the Allied Forces in Europe, Africa, and elsewhere were powered in part by Cummins engines. 

Many of the famous Livery cargo ships and Miki-class tugs that supported the war effort also depended on Cummins marine generators for power. 

With America embarking on a massive interstate highway construction program in the 1950s, Cummins engines powered much of the equipment that built the roads and the thousands of trucks that rolled down them. 

As Cummins continued to grow its business in the U.S., the company began looking beyond its traditional borders. Cummins opened its first foreign manufacturing facility in Shotts, Scotland, in 1956 and by the end of the 1960s, Cummins has expanded its Sales and Service network to 2,500 dealers in 98 countries. Today, Cummins serves customers in more than 190 countries through a network of 500+ distributors and 7,500+ dealer locations. 
 

J. Irwin Miller, CEO from 1934-77, led Cummins to international prominence. A social activist and philanthropist, Miller advised presidents both domestically and internationally (including John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela). Martin Luther King Jr. described him as one of the most progressive business leaders in the country.

The Focus on Emerging Countries

Led by the visionary leadership of J. Irwin Miller, Cummins forged strong ties to emerging countries such as China, India, and Brazil, where Cummins had a major presence before most other American multinational companies. Today, Cummins has grown into one of the largest engine manufacturers in both China and India. Cummins, however, is no longer just an engine business, but a global power leader manufacturing diesel and natural gas engines, hybrid engines, generators, and is up and coming in electrified power. The company pledges to have an electrified powertrain for urban buses on the market by the end of 2019. 

Cummins had sales of 23.8 billion in 2018 - a company record. With more than 60,000 employees worldwide, Cummins serves customers in a multitude of markets. In fact, the company powers more types of equipment in more markets than any other engine company with engine sizes ranging from 2.8 liters to 95 liters. 

With engine development often taken for granted, it's easy to overlook the incredible engineering challenges Clessie Cummins faced to create a mechanically reliable engine and to set the standards for a company that is now the only survivor in a once-crowded field of independent engine makers. Not only that, Cummins is a technology leader, working relentlessly to provide cutting-edge solutions to the increasingly difficult challenge of Powering a World That's Always On.

Clessie Cummins' spirit of innovation and commitment to quality certainly lives on a century later. 

Cummins achieves high ranking on Diversity Best Practices’ Inclusion Index

Cummins also has diversity in the ages of its employees. About half are under 37 years old.
Cummins also has diversity in the ages of its employees. About half are under 37 years old.

Cummins has been named to Diversity Best Practices’ third annual Inclusion Index, which recognizes companies performing at high levels in several key areas including recruitment, retention, advancement and company culture.

"The Inclusion Index continues to grow as more and more organizations are willing to be transparent about their progress and workforce demographics," said Deborah Munster, Vice President, Diversity Best Practices. "We applaud their efforts and will continue to set a high bar in order to drive change and accountability."

Diversity best practices logoCummins was one of 80 companies to achieve a 60% or higher rating – 148 companies filled out an exhaustive survey as part of the index review. Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media, champions best practices in diversity and inclusion and developing innovative solutions for culture change. The index was released July 30.

Diversity Best Practices says companies’ interest in diversity and inclusion continues to grow, pointing to the 17% increase in applications for the index this year. The group arranges its findings into three broad areas:

•    Recruitment, retention and advancement of people typically underrepresented in business settings (women, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ individuals).
•    Company culture including leadership accountability.
•    Transparency and improvement in year-to-year demographic diversity. In 2019, the organization put an increased emphasis on assessing demographics, particularly at the more senior level of companies.

The index is designed to help organizations understand gaps in demographic representation and create a road map to drive internal change and solutions through proven best practices. Key findings from this year’s ranking included 93% of the top 10% of organizations in the index had diversity in their executive succession planning, compared to 79% of index members overall, and 61% of all index participants.

Diversity and inclusion are corporate values at Cummins and have long been emphasized by company leaders. The company put a special emphasis on inclusion in 2018, working to include, appreciate and value the unique backgrounds and skills that each employee brings to work.

“We are extremely pleased to be included as a Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index member,” said Kelley Creveling, Executive Director - Global Diversity & Right Environment at Cummins. “It’s an honor to be among only 80 organizations recognized by The Working Mother Research Institute for our efforts in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment for all of our employees.”

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]

 

Senator hits the track to learn more about Cummins

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun takes the wheel of a tractor-trailer powered by a Cummins X15 engine.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun takes the wheel of a tractor-trailer powered by a Cummins X15 engine.

A U.S. Senator experienced Cummins’ energy diversity strategy first hand last week, literally.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, visited the Cummins test track outside Columbus, Indiana, Aug. 8 and drove a variety of Cummins powered vehicles, ranging from a tractor-trailer with the company’s popular X15 engine to a zero-emission bus with Cummins’ new electrified powertrain.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun behind the wheel of an electric bus powered by Cummins.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun behind the wheel of an electric bus powered by Cummins.

“What do you see in 10 to 15 years on how vehicles are going to be powered?” Braun asked, after completing his test drive with a spin around the track in a RAM pickup with a Cummins’ 6.7-liter, 385-horsepower engine.

“We believe very much in the power of choice,” said Brett Merritt, Vice President – On Highway at Cummins. “We don’t think there’s one silver bullet and the right choice depends on the application.”

Braun’s visit was part of the senator’s 50-city Summer of Solutions tour, where he’s meeting with businesses and constituents around Indiana to learn more about the challenges facing the state and country.

“As a former entrepreneur, I know you have to listen to the customer to solve problems,” said Braun, who took office Jan. 1. He is owner of a third-party logistics company based in Jasper, Indiana, that has grown to become an industry leader in auto parts distribution.

Merritt explained Cummins wants to offer customers a broad portfolio of power products including clean diesel, natural gas, and hybrid engines as well as electrified power, so customers can choose what’s right for their needs.

While electrified power is a great option for buses in urban areas where the necessary infrastructure is expected to develop first, it is not a great option for long-haul trucking over significant distances because of the lack of infrastructure. 

If a customer has access to a supply of renewable natural gas from a source like a landfill, Merritt pointed out that Cummins’ zero emissions natural gas engines can deliver carbon negative power for urban work trucks and buses.

And there may be clean, efficient power sources the company hasn’t developed yet. Cummins, for example, has been exploring the potential of hydrogen fuel cells.

“We’re in it for the long term,” Merritt said.

Braun said adopting new technology has been key to the growth of his own company. And he seemed especially struck by a line in a slide presentation that said, “Cummins is at its best when the industry is changing.”

“That first line is very true,” the senator said. “If you get good at that, you out maneuver your competitors.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun meets with Cummins employees.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun meets with Cummins employees at the company's test track near Columbus, Indiana.

 

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 makes big jump in two key financial rankings

The Cummins X12 and X15 engines, made at the Jamestown Engine Plant, shown here, in Jamestown, New York (U.S.), helped propel the company to record earnings in 2018.
The Cummins X12 and X15 engines, made at the Jamestown Engine Plant, shown here, in Jamestown, New York (U.S.), helped propel the company to record earnings in 2018.

Cummins made significant jumps in two major financial rankings announced recently by popular business magazines.

On Fortune’s list of the 500 largest U.S. companies ranked by total revenue, Cummins rose from No. 149 in 2018 to No. 128 in 2019, an increase of 21 places. In Forbes magazine’s Global 2000 ranking of the world’s largest public companies, Cummins saw an increase from No. 604 to No. 485, a jump of 119 places.

In 2009, Cummins was No. 181 in the Fortune 500. The company finished higher than No. 500 for the first time on the Forbes’ Global 2000 list. 

The higher rankings follow a record year for revenues in 2018 at Cummins, increasing to $23.8 billion from 20.4 billion in 2017, a jump of 16%. The $2.1 billion in net income attributable to Cummins for the full year ($13.15 per diluted share), compared to a net income of $999 million ($5.97 per diluted share), or $1.8 billion ($10.62 per diluted share) in 2017 excluding the impact of tax legislation.

In announcing revenues for 2018 earlier this year, Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger pointed to the company’s 100th anniversary in 2019 as he thanked employees who “made our 2018 record sales and profits a reality.”

 “… Our financial strength allows us to continue investing and innovating across our broad portfolio of power solutions to remain a global technology leader for the next 100 years while continuing to return significant capital to investors,” he said.

Cummins invested a record $902 million in research and development in 2018. Four out of the past five years the company has spent more than $700 million in that area. Cummins is the largest independent producer of diesel engines and diverse power solutions in the world.

The 2019 Fortune 500 is Fortune's 65th yearly list of the 500 largest U.S. companies ranked by total revenues using the most recent publicly available revenue data for both public and private companies.

The Global 2000 is Forbes’ 17th annual ranking of the world’s largest public companies. It screens public companies in four areas: sales, profits, assets and market value.
 

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 Honored with Champion of Diversity Award

Cummins employees come from 171 different countries across the globe. Almost a quarter speak two or more languages.
Cummins employees come from 171 different countries across the globe. Almost a quarter speak two or more languages.

Cummins has been presented with the Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award by the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED).

The award is presented to an organization or corporation fostering equal opportunity as well as exhibiting outstanding commitment to diversity.

In winning the award, Cummins joins an illustrious group, including Eli Lilly and Company, Coca-Cola, the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball team and Oklahoma State University. Kelley Bertoux Creveling of Cummins accepted the award during the AAAED’s annual conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 12.

“Diversity and inclusion are critical to our ability to innovate, to win in the marketplace and to create our sustainable success,” Creveling said. “We are honored to accept this award signifying our continued commitment to building diverse and inclusive workplaces and communities.”

This award was named after the late R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., known for developing and implementing innovative concepts and strategies for maximizing organizational and individual potential through diversity management. A leading speaker and author, Dr. Thomas was also a former board member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Founded in 1974, AAAED has four decades of leadership in providing professional training to members, enabling them to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity and related compliance laws to enhance the tenets of access, inclusion and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities. 

AAAED members are equal opportunity, diversity, Title IX and affirmative action professionals working in higher education, private industry and government. Diversity and inclusion have been paramount at Cummins across its 100-year history. 
 

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. 

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