The company that came away with the top spot isn't a household name, but chances are that this independent engine manufacturer has contributed to your quality of life.
Since 1919 Cummins (CMI
) has been a leader in the design and manufacture of world-class, high-performance engines used in long-haul trucks, buses, light-duty vehicles, and heavy equipment for construction, agriculture, and mining. It also produces power-generation equipment like diesel generators, emissions solutions, and fuel systems. Cummins' products are renowned for their fuel efficiency and reliability. J.D. Power and Associates has measured customer satisfaction for heavy-duty engines for over 15 years, and Cummins routinely ranks first or second.
This consistent level of quality and satisfaction has granted Cummins a brand power that allows it to charge a premium for its engines, supporting a return on equity over 30 percent recently. While Cummins' shares have stumbled over the past two years, the company's been a winner over the long term, returning 170 percent to shareholders over the past five years.
Cummins tops our list not only because of its success delivering positive results to customers and shareholders; employees laud the company's integrity, work-life balance, and culture of development. And, notably, Cummins also has aggressively cut its own greenhouse gas emissions and invests significantly in education and philanthropy efforts across the globe. As more countries adopt progressively stricter efficiency and emissions standards, Cummins' technological edge should prove an enduring advantage.
The bottom line
: Cummins' work contributes greatly to a safer, greener world, and its commitment to environmental leadership and workforce development is admirable. Over the long term, shareholders have been richly rewarded, as well.