Several IW 50 Best Manufacturers made headlines in 2010 -- whether it was weighing in on the BP oil spill, getting "punked" by a group of environmentalists or fighting for the right to sell menthol cigarettes.
IW published its 50 Best Manufacturers rankings in the July 2010 issue as part of its annual IW U.S. 500 list of the nation's 500 largest manufacturers based on revenue. The companies were ranked on performance in revenue growth, profit margin, inventory turns, asset turnover, return on assets and return on equity.
The No. 1-ranked manufacturer was tobacco producer Lorillard Inc., which is known for its Newport brand of menthol cigarettes. Lorillard has faced some much-publicized battles with the FDA and antismoking groups who have questioned the safety of menthol cigarettes. Other 50 Best Manufacturers ramped up overseas investments, developed potentially life-saving medicines and expanded alternative-energy production.
The following is a recap of some of these stories that made 2010 a year to remember:
The No. 1-ranked manufacturer on the IW 50 Best Manufacturing Companies list launched a website on June 28 called Understanding Menthol that supports the company's position on the issue with research and potential policy implications. Stiff regulations or an outright ban on menthol cigarettes would have a significant impact on the Greensboro, N.C.-based manufacturer. Newport is Lorillard's top-selling brand and holds the largest menthol market share in the United States.
Chevron's "We Agree" campaign caught the ire of environmental groups who accused the company of "greenwashing." A group of pranksters called the Yes Men partnered with activists to release a spoofed version of the ad campaign to media outlets. Several publications took the bait and erroneously reported that Chevron was admitting to past mistakes through the campaign.
First Solar Inc. is making more solar panels than it can handle, so the Tempe, Ariz.-based manufacturer is expanding with a new plant in the United States and a facility in Vietnam. "We are sold out," says First Solar spokesman Alan Bernheimer. "Basically demand exceeds our manufacturing capacity to supply."
A gel-formed version of a drug developed by Gilead called tenofovir may significantly reduce a woman's risk of being infected with HIV and genital herpes, according to study results released July 20 by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research (CAPRISA) in South Africa. Tonofovir has been used as in pill form as part of various drug cocktails used to treat HIV. But when used as a vaginal gel, the drug appears to reduce a woman's risk of infection.
For the full list of IW 50 Best Manufacturers stories, click here.
Interested in information related to this topic? Subscribe to our weekly Leadership Insights From The IW 50 eNewsletter.