As a part of our ongoing effort to promote a positive image of manufacturing and a public awareness for the important role of manufacturing in our society and economy, each month we highlight a manufacturing company that is giving back to their community and world. We make a special effort to both acknowledge and thank those companies that promote and fund education for manufacturing and engineering. Here is our hip find of the month:
Viking Range was founded by Fred Carl, Jr. in the 1980s. In the midst of building his own home, he discovered that the range he wanted did not exist so Carl took to the drawing board. After countless late nights, he finally arrived at a hybrid that corralled the cooking power and features of a professional range into a design feasible for home use.
Carl persuaded a small commercial company in southern California to produce the first Viking range for him. After two years of trial, error and extensive testing, the first Viking ranges received American Gas Association certification in late 1986 and shipped in January 1987. Incredible consumer response quickly overwhelmed the contract manufacturer.
Viking soon opened its own manufacturing plant in Greenwood, Mississippi, and realized there was room for professional performance in every corner of the kitchen. By the end of the decade, Viking was operating three manufacturing facilities in Greenwood, and the Viking kitchen grew to include built-in cooking, ventilation, refrigeration, kitchen cleanup, and outdoor products. Since 2000, additional facilities have been added as the company and its product line grew. A dishwasher plant, a distribution center, and a tool and die center brought the total square footage of Viking manufacturing and distribution facilities to more than 500,000 square feet.
Viking has continued its aggressive new product development initiatives and has expanded its product offerings to encompass the entire kitchen, both indoors and outdoors. In addition to its flagship freestanding ranges, the current Viking product line includes ventilation, built-in range tops and cooktops, built-in ovens, warming drawers, dishwashers, trash compactors, refrigerators, freezers, wine cellars, and an entire line of outdoor products including grills, warming drawers, refrigeration and stainless steel cabinetry.
Over the years, they have been committed to helping their community. Here are some of the things they have done and do to help:
The Viking “Commitment to Our Community”
- Viking was the title sponsor of the Viking Classic, a PGA TOUR tournament for 5 years. This tournament raised money for over 90 charities.
- Viking employees lead the charge in fund-raising events such as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the local United Way and March of Dimes, and recently donated 186 pints of blood to Mississippi Blood Services.
- Viking is committed to the revitalization of its hometown, Greenwood, Mississippi. In addition to more than one million square feet of Viking manufacturing, office and distribution center space, the company has renovated numerous buildings in downtown Greenwood for retail and housing, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Viking was recognized by the Mississippi Heritage Trust in 2002 and 2003 for the revitalization of existing buildings in downtown Greenwood and for saving one of Mississippi’s most endangered historic places, the Hotel Irving, now known as The Alluvian Hotel.
- Greenwood has seen a marked increase in its Tourism Tax revenues since the opening of The Alluvian Hotel in 2003 and The Alluvian Spa in 2005.
- The Alluvian Hotel houses an extensive art collection from Mississippi artists and as a result Viking was recognized with the 2007 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts as Corporate Art Patron.
- In 2004 Viking received the National Trust for Preservation’s Main Street Business Leadership Award for commercial district revitalization.
- Also in 2004, the Mississippi Development Authority awarded Viking the Governor’s Cup for significant impact within a local community.
- Viking founder, Fred Carl, Jr. was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour also appointed Mr. Carl as the Housing Commissioner for Gulf Coast Rebuilding.
The Viking “Commitment to Our Planet”
- The Viking MagneQuick™ induction power generators heat the pot, not the kitchen, resulting in 90% + energy efficiency, as opposed to roughly 50% efficiency for gas burners and 60% efficiency for electric burners.
- Viking offers 12 models of ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators and freezers and 2 models of ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers.
- The refrigerant in all Viking refrigerators is reclaimed and recycled, thereby releasing no harmful emissions into the air at their facilities or customers’ homes.
- Viking manufacturing recycled approximately 4.6 million pounds of stainless steel and iron in 2007 and utilizes mainly recycled steel in its products. Viking also recycles 100% of its cardboard packaging.
- Powder-coated rolled steel utilized in Viking appliances eliminates emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds into consumers’ homes and Viking facilities.
- The Viking Production System implements the Kaizen model (continuous improvement), resulting in:
- Efficient run times
- Less scrap
- Fewer errors
- Less energy consumption
- Viking ensures that the environment surrounding its manufacturing facilities is protected by utilizing a cleaning process that does not generate hazardous wastes. Water discharge is minimal and monitored/tested before release.
Lisa Brunelle is the Executive Assistant at Accelerated Buy Sell, Inc. as well as a contributing author to the blog. She is the glue that holds everything together at the “Accelerated Group of Companies” that provides tools and services to help manufacturers grow and exit strategies to maximize dollars when they are ready to retire or sell their manufacturing business. Accelerated’s group of companies that provide services to the manufacturing industry includes:
www.AcceleratedBuySell.com – Provides Online Industrial Auction Services, Used Equipment Auctions, Capital Equipment Auctions, Plant Liquidations, Industrial Plant Cleanout Services, Used Machinery Location Services, Certified Machine Tool and Equipment Appraisals, and more.
www.AcceleratedMfgBrokers.com – Specializes in Manufacturing Business Brokerage and Mergers and Acquisitions. We help manufacturers develop exit strategies to maximize retirement dollars, and successful manufacturers expand through acquisition of other manufacturing companies, product lines and customer lists. Manufacturing Companies for sale throughout the United States are listed on this site.
www.AcceleratedRE.com – Provides Industrial Real Estate Brokerage Services, Online Real Estate Auctions, Sealed Bid Real Estate Auctions and complete industrial facility cleanout services.
www.IgniteMfg.com – Provides funding for products made in the USA, and engineering/manufacturing educational needs through Crowd Funding.
www.MfgWebSolutions.com – Provides web development and social media services for manufacturers at under-market rates.
Lisa Brunelle is a contributing author to:
blog.AcceleratedBuySell.com - A site that provides the latest manufacturing news, statistics and opinion. It also provides information on how to grow a manufacturing business, and what to do if you are a manufacturing company that needs to close.