Cummins Inc. in 2023: Toward Destination Zero. The Massive Energy Transition

By Robert Burgelman, Raj Joshi
2023 | Case No. SM366 | Length 23 pgs.

How would Cummins Inc., a global leader in internal combustion engines, map out a strategy for the great energy transition ahead—one that would grow the company while addressing the twin challenges of climate change and the world’s insatiable need for power? Cummins Inc., founded in 1919, had become a leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of internal combustion engines, power generation systems, and related parts and technologies. But the reality of the need for a zero emissions future, was a great catalyst for the company to launch a New Power business unit and ensure that the company remains a powerhouse in the transportation industry.

The case study discusses the strategic thinking behind Cummins’ goal of Destination Zero, the company’s zero-emissions target for 2050, and the interim steps, partnerships, innovation, and customer education needed to reach that goal. Cummins technology was integral to light-duty trucks, medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks and buses; the company’s engines were widely used in industries such as construction, mining, marine, and oil & gas. Major customers included original equipment manufacturers such as Daimler Benz, Navistar, Volvo, Paccar, and Tata. Evolving the Cummins product portfolio would require a series of interim goals, and juggling continual improvements to core engine products while building out zero-emissions solutions.

Learning Objective

This case is designed to give students a detailed look at the broad challenges and opportunities of sustainable business models. Students discuss the situation in the case to think about strategies for companies to move deliberately towards a zero-emissions future, while meeting the ongoing needs of existing customers.
This material is available for download by current Stanford GSB students, faculty, and staff, as well as Stanford GSB alumni. For inquires, contact the Case Writing Office. Download