Most Innovative Companies #13: National Oilwell Varco

Over the next two weeks, we'll be counting down some of the most innovative industrial companies covered in-depth by and its sister publications throughout 2013.

Coming in at #13 is National Oilwell Varco:

Obviously, distributors focusing on the oil and gas markets have enjoyed the momentum, but few have parlayed this growth like National Oilwell Varco. NOV personifies the definition of a one-stop shop, as it designs, manufactures, and sells major mechanical components for both land and offshore drilling rigs, including the actual rig itself (which will run between $10-$15 million).

The company also acts as a distributor in providing tools, hardware, and other miscellaneous supplies, including office furniture and even appliances in covering “that last mile to the rig.” Excluding recent acquisitions that have not formally been integrated into NOV’s inventory and supply chain management systems, the company boasts 234 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

Each of these stores utilizes an independent purchasing plan. This means they can work with other, local distributors or buy directly from suppliers, and are not relegated to source solely through NOV. The key is providing exactly what the customer needs in as timely a manner as possible, especially given the remote locations of most rigs.

While the rig environment and energy segment overall still sits at the core of NOV, the company has made a number of acquisitions over the last two years in diversifying its reach and line card. These acquisitions encompassed distributors, manufacturers of oil and gas-related products, as well as those with more universal industrial offerings. The spending spree encompassed, but is not limited to:

• A merger with Ameron, a manufacturer of engineered products and materials for the energy and industrial markets, in October 2011 for $777 million.

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See the rest of's Most Innovative Industrial Companies For 2013.