In just 30 years, Airgas has become a leader in the U.S. industrial, medical, and specialty gases industry by staying in step with our customers, staying true to our long-term growth strategies, and staying focused on shareholder value creation.
step by step, we made our way from a small, local cylinder gas distributor to North America's leading provider of packaged gases and welding hardgoods, with significant market positions in bulk atmospheric gases, carbon dioxide, and safety products — all supported by a strong applications technology position and a broad service offering.
We have always found ways to grow in a disciplined way. This has produced outstanding returns for Airgas shareholders.
CREATE A WORKFORCE OF
WHO ARE TEAM PLAYERS
Combining expertise with an entrepreneurial mindset,
Airgas associates generate real value for our customers.
Thoroughly trained, customer-focused branch associates: At our network of more than 875 Airgas branches, associates receive support and training so they can effectively compete locally and meet customers' needs.
Disciplined cylinder fillers: At our 300 fill plants nationwide, our cylinder fillers follow proven procedures for operating multi-cylinder fill manifolds so they can keep our stock of more than 10 million cylinders in circulation and ready when needed to support our diverse customer base.
Safe and dedicated drivers: Our drivers receive extensive safety and customer service training, enabling them to cover 125 million miles a year and keep their customer delivery promises. Airgas has been recognized for Fleet Safety Excellence by the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) every year for the past three years.
Inquiring engineers and chemists: Airgas has invested in a network of more than 75 regional and national labs and an extensive research and development facility to help foster innovation in creating new specialty gas mixtures, delivery systems and other solutions for our customers' most difficult challenges.
Skilled ASU technicians: We have 16 air separation units, and our on-site crews have the technical know-how to efficiently and reliably produce large volumes of oxygen, nitrogen and argon for bulk customers and our own fill plants.
Focused distribution center associates: At our six Distribution Centers, associates process more than 20,000 orders a day by using new technologies and implementing new ideas to streamline the product flow through their centers and into our customers' hands.
Airgas associates working with an entrepreneurial spirit
Airgas University course sessions in fiscal 2012
Airgas is a company made up of experienced and dedicated associates; dedicated to serving customers and dedicated to growing right along with Airgas.
Many of our associates have joined Airgas through acquisitions and have come from independent and family-owned local gas distributors. Others have joined Airgas after spending time at large gas or chemical companies. All of our associates share a common, entrepreneurial trait — they are all expert listeners who take the time to understand customers' needs, develop relationships based on trust, and are empowered to find the best solutions to our customers' challenges.
This is the heart and soul of our company and our culture. Our associates' customer-first attitude and expertise in leveraging Airgas' size and scale is a powerful combination. Even when they are dealing with a long-time customer right around the corner, they can take Airgas' broad product line and service capabilities to the next level by working collaboratively with Airgas specialists and accessing the technologies and programs that only a company like Airgas can provide.
The result for customers is better service and solutions. The result for our associates is an energizing and motivating work environment.
Our team of Airgas customer-centric "entrepreneurs" has ready access to more real-time product and customer data than ever before because Airgas is making a huge investment in a new company-wide SAP information platform.
In addition, they received more than 365,000 hours of training through Airgas University courses in fiscal 2012. The classes empower associates to improve supply chain efficiencies, product and process optimization, safety and compliance performance, and much more. Airgas associates are entrepreneurs and industry experts in one package — and customers are the better for it.
Airgas employee training and empowerment really pay off. Airgas supplies ammonium hydroxide to a large oil-producing customer that uses it in a process to extract oil from shale. The customer uses another chemical as a "pushing agent" to remove the aqua ammonia, and once this chemical is mixed with the ammonium hydroxide it becomes a hazardous waste that must be disposed. Our customer contracted with another company to handle the transport and disposal.
Airgas Specialty Products associate David Casteel worked with our customer to prepare and load the material for transport and while doing so, became very concerned about the condition of the contractor's trucks and the placards. David reached out to his Airgas management with the recommendation to shut the activity down until they could resolve his safety concerns. Management agreed and David alerted his customer. A team was quickly formed to discuss and determine the appropriate remedies and put them into action.
The customer was so impressed they nominated David for an award. More importantly, a potentially dangerous situation involving hazardous waste on our highways was averted.
develop a deep
of Airgas sales force are market,
product or process specialists
At Airgas, we provide essential products — gases, welding hardgoods and safety supplies — that our customers need in their processes or to maintain their facilities.
We understand our vital role and make a point to understand our customers' business. We are a partner, not just another supplier. Whether a new customer is browsing the aisles of an Airgas store or a national company is looking for a better solution to a nagging problem, we bring the same high level of commitment and expertise.
And in fiscal 2012, we continued to enhance the customer experience.
With our Core Strategy II training, Airgas associates who interact with customers on the phone or in the field are reminded about the three basics — Connect, Consult and Complete — they need to bring to every customer interaction.
And through our new Airgas Total Access initiative, our telesales team has been trained to converse knowledgably with smaller customers about gases, as well as welding hardgoods and safety products.
For large accounts that cover multiple states and sites, we created dedicated strategic account teams well-versed in industry specifics. This approach has served Airgas and our customers very well. By focusing trained specialists on specific markets we are better able to understand our customers' wants and needs and deliver an unmatched range of solutions.
These market segment specialists are just another example of Airgas' emphasis on making it easy for customers to do business with Airgas. As a result of our new SAP information platform, we are now able to interact with customers in the way that makes the most sense from a time, touch and needs basis.
Saved each year in cylinder testing
EPA CYLINDER CONTENT TRACKING
GAS MIXTURE VARIABILITY
TECHNOLOGIES THAT HELP OUR CUSTOMERS
Airgas and the industrial gas business have come a long way since 1982, when Airgas was started. As our industry and company have grown, we have helped lead the way in developing cutting edge technologies that provide increased delivery speed, gas purity, user safety and customer convenience.
We're testing a new dynamic routing system that calculates the most fuel- and time-saving way to divide delivery routes between drivers, and our wireless telemetry systems let Airgas drivers know when they need to make a bulk gas delivery to a customer site.
At our Distribution Centers, we utilize hand-held radio frequency transmitters to track the status of our shipments in real time. For our metal fabrication customers, we offer automated cutting and welding solutions and expertise that help our customers increase their quality, efficiency and productivity — and compete on a global scale.
We launched a new line of FreezeRight™ efficient cryogenic freezers for food processor customers. As we have expanded our refrigerants business, we are mindful of the need to help customers stay in compliance with national regulations to efficiently recover, recycle and reclaim the refrigerant called R22. With Refrigatron™, we have developed and patented new, game-changing technology that does just that.
Airgas solutions-oriented technology is a direct result of our customer-centric culture. As our front-line associates understand customers' challenges, they become champions for finding or helping to develop the right solutions. By engaging our corporate support staffs, all with the same deep-seated customer focus, they're able to bring the full force of engineering, information technology, research and development, and eBusiness to solve our customers' toughest challenges.