Shining Light Company-A.O. Smith Corporation
This month’s Shining Light company is A.O. Smith Corporation (Symbol: AOS). Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, A.O. Smith is the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters and boiler systems in North America, operating in over 24 locations worldwide and bringing in revenue north of $2.5 billion. This company has been successful in many different business ventures, all while upholding a standard of trust, accountability, and service consistent with Shining Light companies.
A.O. Smith was founded in 1874 by Charles Jeremiah Smith as C.J. Smith and Sons, a baby carriage and bicycle parts manufacturer. By 1895, the company was the United States largest bicycle parts manufacturer, and in 1899, Arthur Oliver Smith developed the world’s first pressed steel vehicle frame which was later used by the Peerless Automobile Company, Cadillac, and Ford Motor Company. In 1904, the company incorporated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the A.O. Smith company.
By the end of World War I, A.O. Smith was the largest bomb maker in the United States. And Smith ranked 74th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts. By 1945, the company had built 4.5 million bombs, 16,750 sets of landing gear, and 46,700 propeller blades to assist the United States’ efforts in the second half of World War II. A.O. Smith has specialized in manufacturing a great deal of diverse products, maintaining excellence every time.
Also of note, A.O. Smith Water Products Company is headquartered in Ashland City, Tennessee, which is home of the world’s largest water heater factory. The A.O. Smith Corporation manufactures many different variations of water heaters for residential use: gas and propane, hybrid, electric, tankless, and solar, along with others for commercial use.
Core Values & Commitment to Excellence
A.O. Smith’s stated mission is “To be a leading provider of innovative and energy efficient products used to heat, treat and conserve water, providing value to our residential and commercial customers.” The company strives to create long-term and sustainable business value for its stakeholders and drive growth by:
- Living values with honesty and integrity
- Taking care of customers
- Leading through innovation
- Investing in people and operational excellence
- Supplementing organic growth with strategic acquisitions
Core values are a useful method for companies desiring to effectively communicate their intentions to prospects, customers, and employees. These values are especially successful when those intentions go beyond producing revenue for shareholders. A.O. Smith has developed a system of values and beliefs that emphasize integrity, honesty, and positive culture. For example, one foundational statement reads, “A.O. Smith will preserve its good name,” one which they desire to protect and perpetuate. That reputation has been built on fairness, transparency, and integrity when dealing with people and organizations, all while maintaining a high standard of product excellence. The company also has a stated goal of instilling these values in the next generation of employees.
This company believes in fostering a workplace culture that emphasizes teamwork and welcomes diversity. A.O. Smith desires to create a culture where respect for every employee is paramount to the entire operation. The company also desires to empower employees to reach their full potential while also helping further the organization’s goal of creating top of the line water heaters.
Shining Light companies are good corporate citizens, meaning they are careful stewards of resources and use those resources to promote human flourishing. Put simply, A.O. Smith strives to “serve the public and the communities” in which they do business. Part of this commitment includes producing growth that not only turns a profit, but also contributes to the economic well-being of the communities that A.O. Smith calls home. Also of importance is the provision of financial support for employees looking to be involved in activities that serve others. The company assists those employees in raising money to fund activities in their community. Lastly, A.O. Smith aims to protect and preserve the free enterprise system that makes the success of these objectives possible.
For more information about A.O. Smith’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen, visit https://www.aosmith.com/About/Vision-and-Values/.
Community Service & Charitable Giving
A.O. Smith further executes this goal through the A.O. Smith Foundation. Established in 1955, the foundation has provided over $40 million in financial support for community organizations, institutions, and other programs. It is funded and supported directly from the profits of the company.
A.O. Smith desires to see employees use their gifts, talents, and desires to make their communities and hometowns a better place. As a result of this initiative, the Foundation established a Matching Gift Program in 1985 to encourage and support employee charitable gifts to fund education. The Foundation will match dollar for dollar up to $3,000 each year, all employee contribution to colleges, universities, and high schools. It is quite encouraging to see a company not just paying lip service to a core value in order to attract more business but one that is actively giving of profits to promote employee initiative and community assistance. The Foundation also funds a worldwide Scholarship Program that assists employees’ children desiring to attend college or vocational-technical school. These scholarships are renewable each year for a student’s full-time study at an institution of their choice.
For more information about A.O. Smith’s Foundation, visit https://www.aosmith.com/Foundation/.
A.O. Smith has a rich history of manufacturing high quality water heaters and boilers; however, it is the way they conduct business that makes them worthy of accolade. The company daily lives out its core values that drive every action and intention to serve client relationships and retain employees. A.O. Smith is an outstanding model for valuing people over profits. All these reasons make us proud to spotlight A.O. Smith as an exemplary Shining Light Company!
Are you investing in companies like A.O. Smith that reflect your values and beliefs? If not, we can help! Our desire is to assist clients in aligning their investment portfolios with a strongly held biblical worldview. Call us today to schedule an appointment and get started pursuing your financial goals (540) 345-3891!
DISCLOSURE: Shining Lights companies are those companies we have identified as exemplary companies living out the Golden Rule and exhibiting the virtues of Integrity, Humility, Diligence, Caring and Courage. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.