Powering forward with a new vision
A Cummins case study

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Page 7: Rolling out the VISION programme

The VISION programme was rolled out by a series of special events that were very different from traditional business presentations. Those attending received no hint in advance of the approach to be used; it came as a real surprise. The emphasis was on informality and enjoyment: high energy, use of music, fun activities, much audience participation and creative-thinking group sessions with feedback.

Unlike usual training and development activities, events did not generate notes to take away, because the principal purpose behind them was motivational and inspirational: to win the hearts and minds of participants. However, the fun aspect of the programme roll-out was coupled with a serious underlying theme: that of moving the company forward, so that it becomes more flexible, fast-acting, creative, efficient and ultimately more profitable.

One major purpose of the programme was to introduce people to a new way of working by letting them see that their ideas were valued, and by encouraging them to contribute rather than simply listen to keynote speakers. The events were very lively and showed how the company wanted to create a culture that encouraged the unleashing of new ideas, so that everyone could make a creative input into what is a dynamic business.

These events actively illustrated the new vision of 'Unleashing the Power of Cummins' through 'motivating people to act like owners working together'. They also generated an atmosphere of shifting the boundaries of thinking, with a view to creating a workforce that was more ready to respond positively to unexpected problems and challenges.

As part of communicating the changing culture at Cummins, four other elements (Purpose, Values, Performance, Personality) have been highlighted. These are set out below:

What we do

Purpose (What business are we in?)

  • Unleashing the power to enrich people's lives. Everyday. Everywhere. Everyway.

Performance (What makes us unique from our competitors?)

  • Understand and satisfy end-customers' needs best. Easiest to do business with.
  • Best value:
  • innovative technology
  • outstanding customer support
  • winning partnerships
  • world renowned brands
  • Relentless cost reduction.
  • Broadest and most capable global network.
  • Our people do whatever it takes.

Who we are

Values (What do we value?)

  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Delivering superior results
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Diversity
  • Global involvement

Personality (What is our personality?)

  • Decisive
  • Driven to win
  • Agile
  • Passionate
  • Caring

A key focus of the new vision is to encourage a business culture which nurtures the innovative ideas generated by employees at all levels of the company. This important aspect of the vision recognises that the most valuable resource available to the company is the creative energy of its own people.

By encouraging an atmosphere of thinking 'outside-the-box' and initiating a faster path to market, Cummins can continue to exceed the expectations of its customers. Indeed, this approach builds on a firm foundation for innovation already established at Cummins, translated into products with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

For Cummins in the UK, the new vision is cascading throughout the organisation with a phased introduction programme to all 5,000 employees. As the company puts the mission into practice at all levels, its influence is translated into actions and improvements:

  • Equipped with a shared set of approaches across a diverse UK organisation (in terms of locations, products and operating methods) the new way of working enables synergies to be harnessed across all parts of the business. Best practices in one area of the business can now be quickly adopted by others.
  • By encouraging employees to 'act as owners' individuals and teams have identified significant opportunities to reduce overhead costs. Performance cell structures are being developed to devolve responsibility and establish more effective team working.
  • The company-wide employee performance management system now reflects the commitment to the vision and mission. Managers and teams are assessed not just on how well they meet plans and targets, but also how well they demonstrate the new values of the company in everything they do. An internal web-site magazine provides guidance and enables employees to see mission results in action.
  • Closer relationships with customers have been established by developing a partnership approach. Cummins offers an 'open-door' approach by encouraging customers to visit its plants on a regular basis. Customer councils have also been established to provide feedback on product performance and requirements for the future. A rapid response customer support system has been established which enables users of Cummins powered equipment to register their product on-line via the company web-site.

By creating an attractive, energetic corporate culture, Cummins is encouraging new, younger and more diverse people to join the organisation and to contribute to its ongoing success.

Cummins | Powering forward with a new vision