This marks Grainger’s fifth annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, and my first as CEO of Grainger. I was honored to serve as Grainger’s CSR executive sponsor for two years and I am excited that Matt Fortin, Vice President and President of Global Product Management, will continue to build on our foundation of good works as the new executive sponsor. As in year’s past, our goal with this report is to provide interested stakeholders with important updates and information on Grainger’s key CSR-related initiatives. There are new elements to this year’s report that are outlined below, but first, it’s important to set context on where we are as a company.
As we all know and have experienced, technology has led businesses to evolve at an unprecedented pace, and Grainger is no exception. Increasingly, our customers have shifted from ordering through the more traditional channels of phone and branch visits to online and onsite channels including Grainger.com, electronic purchasing platforms (EDI/ePro) and inventory management systems. Grainger anticipated these changes in customer buying behavior, and has invested and evolved to stay ahead of many key trends in an effort to provide unique value for different customers and an effortless experience for all. As a result, in 2016, more than 65 percent of Grainger orders originated through a digital channel and more than 85 percent of orders were shipped directly to the customer or made immediately available through onsite services.
This spirit of ingenuity and anticipating needs permeates the entire company, including our efforts around CSR. You’ll see in this report that we’ve added new and different elements, including:
These should give you a better idea of who we are as a company and where we are headed.
In 2017, Grainger turns 90. It’s a great milestone and certainly shows sustainability in an ever-changing world. It also shows that despite all of the change, keeping true to core values can make all of the difference. Grainger was founded on the principles of an equal focus on team members, community and customers. While these principles were important 90 years ago, I believe they are even more important today.
The ability for us to stay true to who we are as an organization against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving world will allow us to complement technology with empathy, innovation with appreciation and the latest solutions with an unwavering commitment to service.
I wish you the very best.
Chief Executive Officer