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 named a “Culture Champion,” praised for diversity efforts

Cummins' efforts at establishing a culture of diversity and inclusion were highly ranked in the new study.
Cummins' efforts at establishing a culture of diversity and inclusion were highly ranked in the new study.

A partnership between a leading university and one of the world’s largest job and recruiting websites has named Cummins a “Culture Champion,” ranking the company first in its review for employers promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston (U.S.) and Glassdoor also found Cummins ranked No. 7 for a culture of integrity, where employees “consistently act in an honest and ethical manner,” and No. 18 for a culture of respect, where employees “demonstrate consideration and courtesy for others.”

The Culture 500 study looked at more than 500 employers loosely overlapping the Fortune 500. Just 21 were named “Culture Champions,” representing “the very strongest cultures of large American employers.” MIT researchers analyzed over 1 million employee reviews on Glassdoor, using a groundbreaking artificial intelligence tool developed by an MIT-born company to make sense of employees’ words over nine key cultural values. 

Using this approach, researchers could measure how positively and frequently employees in different companies discussed cultural values, enabling comparisons between the different employers.

CUMMINS DELIVERS ON DIVERSITY

Culture Champion Logo"At a time when many large American employers are struggling to deliver on these values, employees speak about Cummins’ diverse culture 3.2 standard deviations more positively than the average company in the Culture 500," say the study’s authors, Donald Sull, Charles Sull and Andrew Chamberlain.

While pleased by the findings, Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says there is more the company can do to create a successful work culture.

“Cummins has been working on diversity and inclusion for many years and it’s ingrained in our corporate values and culture,” Linebarger said, addressing the company’s top ranking in the study. “We have done, I think, some really good things. But there is still much more that we can do and we’re taking aggressive steps to get there. We know that a diversity of people, working styles and ideas is critical to our company’s success.”
 

The study by the MIT Sloan Management Review focused on the values of agility, collaboration, diversity, execution, innovation, integrity, performance and respect.

“A growing body of research by financial economists has shown that a good corporate culture is correlated with high profitability and returns to shareholders,” the study says. “Companies listed among the best places to work based on their corporate culture, for example, delivered nearly 20% higher returns to shareholders than comparable companies over a five-year period.”

AN EMPHASIS ON VALUES

Noting that a separate study identified more than 60 distinct values that companies listed in their corporate values statements, the authors said measuring across dozens of values would be overwhelming. So, they narrowed their list down to nine values they said are cited most frequently in creating great corporate cultures, which they call “the Big Nine.” 

“Culture is often about tradeoffs,” said Donald Sull, the Lead Researcher for the project and a Senior Lecturer at MIT. “But Culture Champions buck this trend, excelling across multiple cultural dimensions at once. They win medals in multiple sports.”

Cummins puts a major emphasis on corporate culture, identifying five key corporate values: integrity, diversity and inclusion, caring, excellence and teamwork. The company has an extensive diversity and inclusion program, including employee resource groups, special conferences for employees from under-represented demographic groups and targeted recruiting initiatives to bring diverse people into the company.

The company’s Ethics and Compliance team also strives to create a just and ethical workplace, the target of Cummins’ Treatment of Each Other at Work policy and training. The company was named in 2020 one of the  World’s Most Ethical Companies for a 13th consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute, a leader in advancing ethical business practices.

Other companies designated Culture Champions in the MIT-Glassdoor study range from institutional investor BlackRock to media provider Netflix and Trader Joe’s grocery stores.
 

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]

 

Company honored for initiatives on the environment, veterans and creating a great place to work

Cummins' Columbus Engine Plant was honored by Indiana's governor for its continuous improvement on the environment.
Cummins' Columbus Engine Plant was honored by Indiana's governor for its continuous improvement on the environment.

Cummins has been recognized for its efforts on the environment, providing opportunities for veterans and creating a great place to work from a trio of organizations.

The company's historic Columbus Engine Plant (CEP) was recognized by Indiana (U.S.) Gov. Eric Holcomb for a range of initiatives to save energy, conserve water and reduce waste. The company was also named a 2021 Military Friendly Employer® for providing opportunities to veterans and their spouses. Finally, Forbes and Statista named Cummins to its 2nd Annual America’s Best Employers by State list for Indiana.

GOVERNOR’S ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

CEP was one of six Indiana organizations and government agencies honored for its work on the environment as part of the governor’s annual awards for environmental excellence.

“By using innovative environmental practices, they have reduced waste, saved money, and contributed greatly to environmental protection efforts for Hoosiers,” Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott said of the honorees.

The Cummins plant was specifically recognized for five years of continuous environmental improvement, including an upgrade to more energy efficient LED lighting in 2017, an energy-saving manufacturing controls project started that same year enabling CEP to convert a continuously running coolant system to on-demand service, and engine test cell improvements saving 3.4 million gallons of water per year in the system to cool engines undergoing testing.

CEP also achieved Zero Disposal status under Cummins’ environmental management program, and the plant's popular Community Recycling Day for residents in the company’s headquarters city of Columbus diverted some 740,000 pounds of material from reaching area landfills.

“To have a successful environmental management system, it takes every department, every team and every individual working together to create change,” said David Wehrkamp, CEP’s Environmental Supervisor. “This recognition is the result of their hard work and dedication.”

MILITARY FRIENDLY EMPLOYER

Military Friendly employer logoCummins was also one of 240 employers recently named to the 2021 Military Friendly Employers list for its work in the U.S. to create opportunities for veterans and their spouses both through employment and supplier initiatives. 

“Companies that have earned this designation have invested in substantive programs to recruit, retain and advance veterans within their organizations,” said Josh Rosen, who leads the organization that puts the list together. “To them, hiring veterans isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s good for business.” 

Employers are evaluated using public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Established in 2003, the Military Friendly Employers list provides a comprehensive guide to veterans and their families. In addition to Cummins employment efforts for veterans, the company has a very active employee resource group dedicated to veterans and veterans are also included in Cummins’ supplier diversity initiatives.

The recognition as a Military Friendly Employer follows the company’s designation in July as a Top-Scoring Company on the 2020 Disability Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool that offers business an opportunity to evaluate their disability inclusion policies and practices. Companies scoring 80% or higher are recognized as “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.” 

BEST EMPLOYERS BY STATE 2021

Finally, Cummins was named to the 2nd annual list of America’s Best Employers by State 2021 for the company’s headquarters state of Indiana.

The list is prepared by Forbes magazine and Statista, which specializes in consumer and market data. It is based on an independent survey of more than 80,000 U.S. employees working for companies employing at least 500 people in their U.S. operations. The surveys were administered using a series of online panels selected to get a representative sample.

Cummins is one of 80 top employers on the list for the state, ranking only behind Salesforce in Indiana. Other highly ranked employers include Eli Lilly and Company (third) and the Indiana University School of Medicine (fourth).  
 

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 named a Top-Scoring Company on the 2020 Disability Equality Index

Cummins has been named a Top-Scoring Company on the 2020 Disability Equality Index® (DEI), a national, transparent benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to self-report their disability inclusion policies and practices. Companies that score 80% or higher are recognized as “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.” Cummins scored 80% on this year’s index.

Cummins has been named a Top-Scoring Company on the 2020 Disability Equality Index® (DEI)

“I’m so pleased to see Cummins’ progress on the DEI,” said Mark Smith, Vice President – CFO  and the Executive Sponsor of the company’s disability inclusion initiative.  “Last year, we participated in this survey for the first time and found that we had a good deal of work to do to ensure we’re creating an environment that enables people with disabilities.  I’m extremely proud of all that has been accomplished over the last several months.”

From 2019 to 2020, the Cummins Disability Inclusion initiative, led by Dennis Heathfield, made great strides in the following DEI survey categories:

  • Internal and external communications 
  • Leadership engagement
  • Employee Resource Group network and alignment
  • Recruiting practices
  • Facilities accessibility

Going forward, the work will be focused on improving technology and web accessibility, designing and implementing a global workplace adjustments system, and supporting site-specific disability inclusion efforts.

The Disability Equality Index is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN. It was first launched in 2015 and is acknowledged today as the most comprehensive disability inclusion assessment tool designed and embraced by both business leaders and disability advocates. This year, 247 corporations used the DEI to benchmark their disability inclusion efforts.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

High tech tools enable Cummins to safely support customers amid pandemic

Cummins Sales and Service technicians can work collaboratively with experts many miles away using RemoteConnect.
Cummins Sales and Service technicians can work collaboratively with experts many miles away using RemoteConnect.

A suite of high-tech tools called RemoteConnect is enabling Cummins to support customers while maintaining social distancing and travel restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 crisis.

The tools, which allow experts to remotely see what technicians see in the field, were created by the Cummins Care team in 2017, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, to support customers in hard-to-reach locations. Now, with travel discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus, the use of RemoteConnect has increased dramatically, making the tools more important than ever. 

“RemoteConnect was created to be an alternative solution when a Cummins subject matter expert cannot be onsite,” said Cummins Care Manager Joe Brooks, who has been leading the initiative since 2017. “This has quickly turned into the only solution to service our customers in certain situations due to COVID-19. RemoteConnect has been a real game-changer during these unprecedented times.”

HOW THE TOOLS WORK

The suite of tools comes in a kit that looks something like a suitcase and includes safety glasses equipped with a tiny camera that technicians can use to work collaboratively with company experts known as “CFSEs” to diagnose and fix problems. CFSEs can literally see what the technician sees even if they are many miles away.

RemoteConnect quickly demonstrated its ability to improve repair quality while reducing misdiagnosis, un-recoverable labor expenses and most importantly, customer pain and suffering. The kits have been placed in more than 140 Cummins locations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada but Cummins Care is working to deploy them elsewhere, too.

Before COVID-19, CFSEs spent a significant time on the road, working with Cummins technicians at a particular Cummins Sales and Service location to collaborate on difficult service work. In addition, they would also collaborate with technicians via RemoteConnect. 

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, suddenly a simple flight, train, or even a car ride to service a customer was no longer a routine option. Many CFSEs discovered RemoteConnect was the next best thing to being there.

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS

While the safety glasses equipped with cameras to live stream two-way audio and visual communication has perhaps the biggest wow factor, the kits also include:

•    LogMeIn Rescue: A tool providing the CFSE the ability to remotely collaborate with onsite technicians by taking control of their desktops.
•    Network Bridge: A tool allowing CFSEs working remotely to connect to an engine’s electronic control module (ECM), which is the command center on an engine controlling its operation.

As of April, over 5,402 remote support cases had been completed since November of 2018, including 621 that would have required travel, and 3,488 days of downtime were saved. The kit was used 166 times just between February and April.

Brooks and others at Cummins expect those numbers will go up in the days and months ahead. RemoteConnect is just another way Cummins puts technology and innovation to work for its customers. 
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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