OUR GOALS, STRATEGIES & TARGETS
We Keep Life Flowing. For our customers and our communities. Because we provide the most precious of life critical needs. We must provide clean, safe water for people to drink and fire protection to save lives and our wastewater treatment plants provide a shield between our customers and disease. And we must take care of the planet and our water sources in doing so. A very high calling.
Simply said, a company is its people. People who have a safe place to work, both physically and emotionally. Where each person is trained and developed to his or her fullest potential, and everyone is included, respected and valued.
Without customers, we don't exist. They are why we are here. We must find better ways to improve our service for them and their experience with us. In a world of personalized, Amazon-like customer experience, we must raise our game. Our customers demand and expect it.
Trusted source of everything water:
If we don't deliver safe and clean water, nothing else we do matters. Not only must we have the best water quality and services, but we also must be fully trusted by all of our stakeholders to be the very best at operational excellence and be fully transparent and dependable. Lives count on it.
In 2019, we will strive to be the trusted source of everything water by focusing on best-in-class execution of business fundamentals; driving toward the highest levels in customer satisfaction; and setting the bar for water quality, all built on a foundation of proven, predictable financial performance and growth. And all of this requires that we develop all of our people to their fullest potential. And, of course, we must aim for zero injuries, because it is never acceptable for a single member of our team to be hurt at work.
In 2018, we did not meet our targets on safety. It can never be acceptable for any employee of American Water to get hurt on the job. We have set tougher Recordable Incident Rate (ORIR) and "DART" targets in 2019. We will also categorize injuries on the job as what they are - incidents, not accidents - since incidents are preventable but accidents aren't perceived to be.
We take every incident seriously and want to drive accountability for every injury. We must continue to be vigilant and work safely so every person goes home in the same shape in which he/she came to work. Your life or those lives of your co-workers may very well depend on it.
We are a purpose-driven, people-powered company. Purpose-driven goes beyond proud and engaged employees. It means every employee understands how he or she contributes to providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable service. People-powered means every employee is empowered to act so we are always doing what right - for our co-workers, for our customers, for our communities and for our planet.
In 2019, we will continue to focus on developing an inclusive and diverse work environment where all employees are respected and valued. To continue developing our team, we again will include a 20-hour target for training. And a more streamlined, short, easy-to-take culture survey will launch in 2019, providing insights into how you think we can be a better company to work for.
We want to be the very best period. If one day our customers have a choice as to who provides their water and water services, we want them to choose us. Because they want to, not because they have to. Technology will be key in 2019 to transition us to our "customer-obsessed" future. We will integrate technology, built from the customer perspective as communicated to us by you on the front lines, into everything we do. Some examples include using artificial intelligence to understand meter activity or using sensors that predict a water quality risk before it becomes a problem. Our goal is to give the best tools possible to our front-line employees who deal with our customers directly every day, and to our customers so they can do business with us easily.
To measure our progress, we are adjusting our customer satisfaction survey to understand, quite simply, how likely a customer would be to recommend our company to others.
You will notice we switched the name of this goal area to "operational excellence" as opposed to "operational efficiency." Efficiency is just part of the equation, and we should strive for excellence across all the things we do to provide safe, clean, reliable water to our customers. For us, executing on our fundamentals is crucial, and we need to be the best at it.
Just as it will help drive a better customer experience, technology will help to drive excellence at American Water. This year, there will be five key business areas where we will deploy tools and technology that strengthen the fundamentals of our business. You will be hearing more on these areas throughout the year.
And we will be doing all this work while minimizing the effect on customer bills. Our operations and maintenance target for 2019 is set at 34.5 percent, because for every $1 we save in running our business, we can invest $8 in capital infrastructure to make our systems stronger and more reliable without impacting customer bills.
We made great progress in expanding our customer base in 2018 in both the regulated and market-based businesses, and our growth goals remain consistent year over year. In 2019, 5-7 percent of our growth will come from capital investments like replacing pipes, pumps and plants. And 1-2 percent of our growth will come from bringing new regulated customers into the American Water family. Another 1-2 percent of our growth will come from our market-based businesses of Homeowner Services and Military Services Group.