Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Like most companies that are a part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 3M is a conglomerate. Formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, the company was added to the DJIA on August 9, 1976.

They make a wide range of products including adhesives, fire protection, car care products and hundreds of other categories covering thousands of products.

Without a doubt, their huge portfolio of products and patents are a huge strength for 3M. They continue to develop new products and continue innovations at a great rate. In 2009, they were awarded on average, more than one patent per day. In addition, while being so diverse, they don't depend on any one area for a significant percentage of their revenues. This helps them as a company, get through any downturns that will happen to various units.

Just as having so many products and patents are a strength, it is a huge weakness as well. They have to spend a significant amount of time and money, looking for trademark infringers and dealing with those that they encounter. Plus, they can't rest on their laurels, and must keep investing in R&D. R&D is not cheap, but is necessary in good and bad economic times.

Continuing to build on their product lines by innovating and expanding where they sell their products continue to provide ongoing opportunities. Along those lines, they have great opportunities by buying firms that will enhance their product offerings, expand their categorical offerings and keep the company fresh.

Major threats continue to be generic knockoffs or counterfeit products being developed by other companies. This costs time and money not only fighting these companies and products, but they also lose out on sales for their products. In addition, material costs for products continue to vary widely. This can be mitigated by obtaining long term contracts with suppliers which lock in price and as a result, bring consistency to their pricing.

Overall, the company is doing well. They must continue to innovate and avoid complacency that can set in, especially with a large company. Due to their diverse nature, it helps the company as a whole avoid major troubles whenever a particular unit faces a downturn.

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