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Cummins strives for excellence, diversity

Author : Date : 2013-8-23 10:54:43

Cummins makes its home in Indiana, but this leader in the area of electronic products is making an impact around the globe.

Many may see their logo on the side of vehicles like the Dodge Ram, but really Cummins does more than outfit trucks with an unmistakable growl. They design, manufacture, distribute and service engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.

“We service the government and the automotive industry with customers like Chrysler and even municipalities,” said Michelle Taylor, diversity procurement director at Cummins Inc. “We do this worldwide in 190 countries.”

Last year, Cummins earned $1.66 billion on sales of $17.3 billion. Those numbers are built on the company’s vision of a modern company that builds strong relationships and strives for excellence.

This model for growth is built upon the hard work of the company’s namesake, Clessie Lyle Cummins, who was a mechanic and innovator, and is carried out by the company’s current leadership who recently announced their newest collaboration.

The Columbus Engine Plant is being readied to build the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel for Nissan’s next generation Titan pickup truck.

“We are bringing our innovation and latest technology in engines and after treatment products to a new segment of customers. Importantly, this will help us grow our own business as well as allow us to help an important new partner, Nissan, succeed in the market,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc.

An additional feather in Cummins’ cap is that this new venture will bring more than 500 jobs to Indiana.

Taylor said Cummins’ brass is in tune with the global community and has a pulse on the daily needs of Cummins’ employees, the local community and consumers’ needs. This newest announcement serves as evidence.

“The partnership with Nissan on the V8 program benefits not only Cummins employees, but also our community,” said Jeff Caldwell, general manager of Cummins’ pickup truck business. “The innovative and lightweight design of the 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel is a perfect fit for the customer who wants V8 performance with diesel efficiency. It broadens Cummins’ range of products and provides a new clean diesel option for our customers.”

In addition to forging new relationships, Cummins believes they are also successful due to their commitment to diversity.

“It makes me feel proud and that I matter - that the company understands there’s another point of view. That’s the kind of environment fostered here. I’m appreciative of that,” explained Taylor.

That responsibility is certainly felt outside of company walls.

“They’ve been very committed to working with the (Indiana Minority Supplier Development) council in identifying minority businesses to provide their company with direct supply needs. Michelle’s been really instrumental in bringing those businesses into Cummins,” said Ivan Baird Jr., vice president of finance and operations for the IMSDC.

In order to garner new business and remain at the forefront among competitors, Cummins applies cutting edge technology when crafting their products and employs the best and brightest talent. Taylor is one of many employees that fit this category.

Taylor joined the Cummins team earlier this year to help acquire partnerships with diverse companies around the globe. Her responsibility is to also leverage and engage Cummins’ tier one suppliers, sourcing team and leadership team.

“My hope is that Cummins realizes its potential in every market we serve. I also hope we forge a legacy of innovation in how we evolve in fostering diverse supplier relationships,” said Taylor, who added that the company is working on increasing global supplier diversity goals in 2014.

Taylor knows firsthand Cummins’ commitment to diverse suppliers. Prior to coming aboard the company, she owned Milor Supply Inc., a distribution facility maintenance and inventory management company. Milor was a supplier for Cummins.

“It was an enriching experience because I learned more about industries I had never really worked in, but got exposure to as a result of having customers like the federal government, the hotel/restaurant industry and Cummins,” said Taylor. “Having that entrepreneurial spirit and now being responsible for the diversity procurement initiative, I believe I can further aid Cummins which has, over the years, been a true advocate for this. Having that Minority/Women Business Enterprise experience makes me that much more passionate. I can relate and understand both sides.”

Baird believes Taylor’s dual perspective is an asset to the company.

“Michelle has a very good grip on Cummins’ vision. Not only where they’re going with local supplier diversity, but globally as well,” said Baird.

Cummins isn’t solely dedicated to the dollars and goes above and beyond “the business of business” by making sure they invest in the community by supporting worthwhile causes. They even practice global environmental stewardship.

What also makes Cummins a one-of-a-kind company is that they continue to hold ties to their home in Indiana. The company is headquartered in Columbus located about 30 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis.

“Clessie had an idea here. His dream came alive and Columbus flourished because of that,” said Taylor.

She went on to say that Cummins cares about producing a stellar product, but also cares about its employees. To bring people closer together, employees can join an affinity group that addresses various needs. Groups do everything from picnics to community service projects. Taylor is involved in the African-American group and the Special Needs group. Cummins top leadership also participates in these groups.

Cummins has also invested in their employees’ health by providing a fitness facility and out-of-the-box strategies to get people moving such as treadmills in the office where employees can walk while they work.