Our commitment to global environmental sustainability includes partnering with our customers in innovating environmentally responsible solutions.
Developing Responsible Solutions Through Customer-Back Innovation
Customer-Back Innovation, a component of the ITW Business Model, guides our approach to innovation and starts with our customers’ pain points. Our customers are often challenged with environmental issues, including those related to climate change risk management, such as how to reduce energy use or emissions. They also face environmental opportunities, such as the growing electric vehicle (EV) market. In partnership with our customers, we work to address these challenges and opportunities through the development of new and existing products.
ITW is proud to provide more than $4.2 billion of products that support overall eco-efficiency and in turn help our customers reduce the environmental impact of their own products. Clean-tech products represent approximately 29 percent of ITW’s overall revenue in 2021, a 7 percentage point increase over the last four years.
A Focus on Product Safety as We Innovate Solutions Responsibly
ITW’s Customer-Back Innovation process incorporates product safety in the following steps:
- Identify the key customer problem and determine the business value of solving it. This step includes considering safety impacts related to the customer issue and possible solutions.
- Explore differentiated alternatives and select the best product/service approach. This step includes the start of our Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA) process, which considers safety implication and mitigation strategies for identified risks of our proposed offerings.
- Engineer the product/service. The DFMEA identification of possible product safety issues and their mitigation is typically concluded by the end of this step.
- Build the capability to manufacture, support and sell the product/service to customers. This step includes the consideration of effective control plans to ensure manufactured products are high quality and safe.
Life Cycle and Durability of Products
ITW has a long history of innovation, with a broad portfolio of approximately 19,300 granted and pending patents. In delivering customer-driven solutions, the life cycle and durability of a product is a key consideration. Many of our products are designed to have a long life cycle, and we are proud of the durability and reliability of our product offerings. As described above, ITW’s various divisions consider the long-term product needs of customers and conduct appropriate DFMEA and Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis to enhance product safety, reliability and durability. For example, ITW Hartness’ palletizing equipment is designed with longevity and reliability to meet shifting market demands. Our Hobart stand mixers and Buehler lab equipment are typically in use by our customers for decades. Products from our Appliance division, which we furnish to OEM appliance manufacturers, support robust operation of this appliance equipment typically for decades as well.