As The Toro Company nears its 100 th anniversary in 2014, it is reflecting upon its past as it continues to drive to the future. Since its beginning, Toro has created innovative products, services and solutions to help customers care for their outdoor environments – from golf courses and sports fields to public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. The principles that have guided the company from the very beginning – a commitment to innovation and building lasting relationships – remain a key focus today as Toro looks to its next hundred years.
Industry first lithium-ion, battery-powered Toro Greensmaster eFlex walk greens mower (Photo: The Toro Company).
Driven By InnovationFrom the company’s first patent in 1920 for a convertible cultivator tractor, to the more than 20 U.S. patents it received in 2012, Toro has obtained over 800 U.S. patents – in addition to many corresponding patents outside the U.S. Toro demonstrates its commitment to innovation by annually dedicating at least 3 percent of net sales to research and new product development. Recently, in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s list of annual R&D spending among Minnesota public companies, Toro ranked 11 th with investments of just over $60 million in fiscal 2012.
The combination of intensive product development and a deep understanding of customer needs has enabled Toro to achieve and maintain market leadership. In 1919 at the request of The Minikahda Club in Minnesota, Toro created a mechanized mowing machine to replace horse-drawn equipment typically used by golf courses at that time. After Minikahda put the new machine to the test, the chairman of the grounds committee, Senator William F. Brooks, predicted it would “revolutionize the cutting of grass on golf courses.” His prediction came true and helped establish Toro as the leader in the industry.