Different companies measure the success of their infrastructure in different ways, whether through state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, leading-edge products or streamlined business processes and systems. All of these elements are important to the long-term success of most companies, including Ecolab. As the leading global provider of cleaning, sanitation and service solutions to our customers, Ecolab's superior products, systems and processes are key underpinnings of our success.
But if we are looking at infrastructure as the foundation by which the ultimate success or failure of a company hinges, then at Ecolab, our infrastructure really boils down to one essential element: our people.
Nothing is more important to our success than having a great team. Many of our customers run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that we have to be committed to offer the high levels of service that they deserve at any time they are operating. We meet this challenge by employing more than 12,000 service associates, more than half our employee base and more than double that of our largest competitor.
This is a win-win for our associates and our customers. It requires all of us at Ecolab to work as a team to get the best results for our customers. And our customers clearly want nothing less than the best results. These shared values and common mindset have ultimately led Ecolab to operate more like family than a group of individuals, and that family feeling extends to our customers. We often hear our customers say that their Ecolab field service representative is family -- or, at the very least, like a member of their own staff.
The best way we've found to achieve this kind of success is through investments in our team. We work hard to hire, train, develop and motivate our associates to be the best, and we've been recognized many times for it within the sales-and-service industry. Our associates recognize it. There are many people at Ecolab who have been with the company 20, 30 or even 40 years or more.
At A Glance
Ultimately, this program is all about preparing our associates for current and future success by creating a common vision, building networks, fostering an environment of creativity and risk-taking, and driving results for our business. The Talent Pipeline initiative not only helps associates be more accountable for their career development, but also gives them the opportunity to play a more proactive role in their future with Ecolab.
Finally, the heart of our company -- the Ecolab Culture -- revolves around six universal traits that every Ecolab employee must possess in order to be successful: spirit, pride, determination, commitment, passion and integrity. The real meaning behind this culture is pretty simple: We care about our customers and one another, and we do what's right to succeed.
It's not a complicated formula, but it is one that has worked effectively for Ecolab, and one we believe will continue to work well into the future: Employ the right people, who know how to treat our customers in the right way, in the right jobs, and the foundation is solid for limitless opportunities in the future.