Loath to be stuck on one thing, 3M makes everything from tape to high-tech security gear. The diversified company makes products through five operating segments: Industrial; Safety and Graphics; Electronics and Energy; Health Care; and Consumer. Well-known brands include Post-it notes, Scotch tapes, Scotchgard fabric protectors, Scotch-Brite scouring pads, and Filtrete home air filters. 3M sells products directly to users and through numerous wholesalers, retailers, distributors, and dealers worldwide. Industrial, its largest segment, accounted for about 34% of 3M's total revenues in 2014.

Geographic Reach

The company has 88 manufacturing plants in 30 US states and operates 127 manufacturing and converting facilities in about 40 other countries in Asia Pacific; Europe; Middle East and Africa; Latin America; and elsewhere in North America. Overall, 3M has operations in more than 70 countries.

In 2014 3M generated about 37% of its revenue from the US; 23% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa; 10% from Latin America and Canada; and 30% from the Asia/Pacific region.


In 2013 the company realigned its business segments to better serve its customers and now operates five business segments: Industrial; Safety and Graphics; Electronics and Energy; Health Care; and Consumer.

The Industrial segment serves a broad range of markets, such as automotive OEM and aftermarket, electronics, appliance, paper and printing, packaging, food and beverage, and construction. Products include vinyl, polyester, foil and specialty industrial tapes and adhesives.

The Safety and Graphics segment includes architectural, building and commercial services, commercial graphics, industrial minerals, personal safety, and traffic safety and security. Major products offerings include architectural surface and lighting solutions; personal protection products; traffic safety and security products; commercial graphics sheeting and systems.

The Electronics and Energy segment includes communication, electrical, electronics materials, electronics, infrastructure protection, optical systems, renewable energy, and 3M Touch Systems. Its products include electrical, telecommunications, renewable energy, and infrastructure protection goods and services. 

The Health Care segment serves medical clinics and hospitals, pharmaceuticals, dental and orthodontic practitioners, health information systems, and others. Its products and services include medical and surgical supplies, skin health and infection prevention products, inhalation and transdermal drug delivery systems, and oral care products.

The Consumer segment includes consumer retail, office retail, home improvement, building maintenance and other markets. Major consumer products include Scotch® brand products; construction and home improvement products, include surface-preparation and wood-finishing materials, and filters for furnaces and air conditioners; home care products include Scotch-Brite pads and sponges.

Sales and Marketing

3M sells its products globally though a wide range of distribution channels, including directly to users and through numerous wholesalers, retailers, jobbers, distributors, and dealers.

Financial Performance

The company has seen stable growth in its revenues since 2011, in 2013 3M's revenue increased by 3% due to higher sales from all segments (driven by stronger local-currency sales, higher prices, and acquisitions). Organic local-currency sales grew 5%, with increases of 6% in Asia Pacific, 5% in the US, 5% in Latin America/Canada, and 3% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Industrial segment revenues increased in 2014, led by aerospace and commercial transportation, automotive OEM, 3M Purification Inc., advanced materials, and abrasive systems.

Safety and Graphics sales increased, led by personal safety. 3M also saw positive organic local-currency sales growth in commercial solutions, and traffic safety and security systems. However, sales in the roofing granules business declined that year.

Electronics and Energy sales growth was led by display materials and systems. In 3M's energy-related businesses, organic local-currency sales increased by 1%, led by electrical markets and telecommunications, partially offset by reductions in renewable energy sales.

Health Care saw sales growth in health information systems, drug delivery systems, food safety, critical and chronic care, and infection prevention. (It also saw Acquisition sales growth related to the 2014 purchase of Treo Solutions LLC).

The Consumer segment reported sales growth in construction and home improvement, and in its consumer health care and home care businesses. Sales in the stationery and office supplies business were flat.

In 2014 3M's net income increased by 6% due to higher revenues and operating income.

That year the company's operating cash inflow increased by 14% due to a growth in net income and a change in working capital.


As a technology-driven company, 3M continues to make research and development a top priority, investing heftily in new product development efforts. Through significant investments in R&D, sales, and manufacturing, the company ranks among the most innovative companies in the world. It also competes on a global scale and likes to develop, manufacture, hire, and purchase locally in whatever region it is in to get close to its customers. In 2014 the company invested $2 billion in R&D activities worldwide.

Its 3M New Ventures unit seeks game-changing opportunities, cutting-edge platform technologies, outstanding entrepreneurs and strong intellectual property positions in high-growth markets that are strategically important to 3M. With minority investments in start-up companies, 3M New Ventures creates not only financial value but strategic synergies between 3M and new ventures.

In 2015 3M invested in Nanoscale Components to expand the adoption of 3M's unique silicon alloy anode into lithium-ion batteries.

It also continues to see emerging markets like China and other developing countries as promising avenues for growth. Although China has made recent moves to curb inflation, 3M believes that China holds great potential for the company's growth in the long term.

In 2014 3M formed partnership with US-China Clean Energy Research Center Building Energy Efficiency Consortium, under which 3M participates in research on building efficiency strategies, tools, and practices in areas such as building envelope technologies and integration of new construction materials for increasing energy efficiency.

In a move aimed at bringing greater economic efficiencies to Premier's more than 100,000 health care provider members, in 2014 the company reached a group purchasing agreement with health care alliance company Premier, Inc. for multiple catheter securement and stability products. The new agreement allows them to take advantage of special pricing and terms pre-negotiated by Premier.

In 2013, the company and China-based Hunan Reshine New Material Company signed a patent license agreement to expand the use of nickel, manganese and cobalt in lithium ion batteries (in growing demand in consumer electronics, automotive, and other markets).

That year, in order to expand its manufacturing assets in Asia, 3M Company invested in plants in China and Singapore to support the growing window film business.

It also signed a patent license agreement with Korea-based ECOPRO to further expand the use of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium ion batteries.

Mergers and Acquisitions

3M also grows through acquisitions. In 2014 it acquired Treo Solutions, a leading provider of data analytics and business intelligence to healthcare payers and providers. This deal makes it possible to extend real-time data analytics and payment redesign worldwide, jumpstarting the many provider organizations that have adopted the 3M 360 Encompass System for computer-assisted coding in their transition to population health management.

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501 Griffin Brook Dr
Methuen, MA 01844-1870
Phone: 1 (978) 659-0053


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Vice President Of Marketing Development: Ken Keefer
  • International Applications Engineering Manager: Ken Miller
  • Vice President: Andrew Wong

Major Office Locations

  • Methuen, MA

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