Careers at Corning
Corning’s mission is to collaborate with customers to solve tough technology challenges with products that transform people’s lives.
Corning is a provider of glass, ceramics, and related materials for industrial and scientific applications. The firm operates five reportable business segments:
- Display Technologies – Provides glass substrates for liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that are used primarily in LCD televisions, notebook computers, and flat panel desktop monitors.
- Optical Communications – Provides optical fiber, cable, and connectivity solutions in two main product groups: carrier network and enterprise network.
- Environmental Technologies – Provides ceramic substrates and filter products for emissions control in mobile and stationary applications.
- Specialty Materials – Provides products that offer over 150 material formulations for glass, glass ceramics, and fluoride crystals.
- Life Sciences – Provides laboratory products such as consumables (plastic vessels, specialty surfaces, and media) and general labware and equipment used for cell culture research, bioprocessing, genomics, drug discovery, microbiology, and chemistry.
In 1851 businessman Amory Houghton bought an interest in Bay State Glass Company. In 1854 he liquidated his holdings in the firm to launch his own factory, Union Glass Company. In 1864 he sold Union Glass and purchased the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company in Brooklyn, New York. In 1868 his son Amory Houghton, Jr. moved it to Corning, New York, renaming it Corning Flint Glass Company.
In 1875 Houghton, Jr. became President of the firm and incorporated it as Corning Glass Works. In the next decade it worked with scientists at Cornell University to enhance the optical quality of its lenses, increasing its technological prowess. In 1908 the company established a research laboratory, the first such facility in the town and the fourth such one in the United States.
Over the next few decades the lab oversaw the introduction of many innovations. One was a heat-resistant glass that led to the development of a shatterproof lantern. Another was Pyrex, initially used for lab equipment but later marketed for kitchenware. This period also saw the formation of various joint ventures. In 1989, the company’s name was changed to Corning, Incorporated.
Business model of Corning
Corning has a diversified market business model, with customers that have very different needs. The company targets its offerings at firms in a wide variety of commercial and industrial markets.
Corning offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, innovation, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. Its products are used in a broad range of industries, from telecommunications and consumer electronics to life sciences and transportation. As a result, they are used in a diverse array of products – for example, emissions-control products for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles; damage-resistant cover glass for tablets and smartphones; products that accelerate manufacturing and drug discovery; and optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for high-speed communications networks.
The company has embraced innovation throughout its history. Its breakthroughs include:
- A bulb-shaped glass encasement for Thomas Edison's incandescent lamp
- A heat-resistant, low expansion glass for signal lanterns
- A heat-resistant glass for cookware and lab products, later to be known as Pyrex
- The first low-loss optical fiber
- A process for the mass production of TV picture tubes
- The fusion process, which forms specialty glass suspended in mid-air
- Electricity-conducting coated glass and fused silica
- Photochromic glass, which darkens when exposed to light
- Hub machines, which are used for cutting hot glass into various shapes and sizes
Corning also operates the Emerging Innovations Group, which identifies new opportunities for its materials in the automotive, architecture, and antimicrobial markets.
The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. A Fortune 500 company, it generated $9.8 billion in revenues in 2015 and employs 40,000 people across five continents. It bills itself as the largest producer of glass substrates for LCD displays. Lastly, it has won many awards, and is a four-time National Medal of Technology recipient for its process and product innovations.
Corning’s main channels are its direct sales team and a network of distributors. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and participation in trade shows.
Corning’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website provides self-help resources such as a gallery of informative videos and an infographics library. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of its Customer Service Department (CSD), which is available to assist customers through every step from product shipment to invoice processing.
Corning’s business model entails designing, developing, and manufacturing its products for customers.
Corning’s key partners are the suppliers who provide the raw materials and components it uses to manufacture its products. It most commonly obtains ores, minerals, polymers, helium, and processed chemicals from these third parties.
Corning’s main resource is its intellectual property, which includes more than 7,750 patents (3,250 of them U.S. patents) as of the end of 2015. The company also relies heavily on its research and development staff, which consists largely of scientists and engineers.
Lastly, it depends on physical resources in the form of its 89 manufacturing plants and processing facilities in 17 countries (34% of which are located in the U.S.).
Corning has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through frequent product enhancements. Its biggest cost driver is cost of sales, a variable expense that includes raw material consumption. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing, research/development, and administration, all fixed costs.
Corning has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from sales of its products to customers. The products are typically sold through the formation of long-term contracts.
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