3M CEO to Cramer: The secret to staying relevant

Focused on staying relevant: 3M CEO
Focused on staying relevant: 3M CEO   

There are some companies so consistent and well managed that Jim Cramer wants investors to consider their stocks to be core holdings in their portfolios.

3M is one of those companies. When most people think of 3M, they think of Scotch tape and Post-it Notes. But the reality is that 3M is so much more than that.

3M is in an epicenter of innovation with diversified businesses all over the world. Its products range anywhere from healthcare and safety to electronics, energy and graphics.

This company is the No. 1 player in most markets where it competes, and it constantly invents new products. And despite the fact that the strength of the U.S. dollar has had a detrimental effect on companies with international exposure, 3M still managed to report a robust 6.3 percent organic growth when it reported in January.

Can 3M continue to reign as industrial king for the future? To find out, Cramer spoke with CEO Inge Thulin.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Thulin said the secret to the success is innovation, noting that about a third of the company's current product line did not even exist five years ago.

"That is also why you can stay relevant to your customers. That is an important metric that we are focusing on," Thulin said.

The CEO explained that the company made a decision to be a part of the technology and demographic change that has occurred all over the globe. "That also means you need to get leaders in place that understand context, which I call context intelligence," he said.

Thulin says that many of the company's leaders offer perspectives that span the globe. Some of 3M's top managers were raised in Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Spain.

"You put that together and you will understand the context of how to do business on a global scale. That is an important element for us in our model," Thulin said.

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This global perspective has also allowed the company to gain perspective on local megatrends and bring them to commercialization. For instance, Thulin added that there are three major trends occurring in China right now.

First is air pollution, second is clean water and third is food safety.

"We play in all of them… We can use both global megatrends but then be very specific with the local capabilities both in terms of research and development but also manufacturing capabilities based on what the customers and the market is telling us," he said.

"I think the stock has much more room to run," Cramer said.

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