When profits go down the drain at Kohler, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The company makes bathroom and kitchen products -- from toilets and baths to showers and sinks -- under names including Jacob Delafon, Karat, Kohler, Kallista, Mira, and Sterling. It also makes furniture under the Baker and McGuire brands and tile under the Ann Sacks brand. Lesser-known operations include Kohler's manufacturing of small engines, generators, and power supplies for both consumer and industrial applications under the Kohler and Lombardini names. Kohler also owns golf courses and resorts in Wisconsin and The Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in Scotland. The Kohler family controls the company.
The company sells 50 different brands across four main product lines: Kitchen and Bath; Interiors (furniture and tile); Global Power (engines and generators); and Hospitality (golf resorts and spas).
On the real estate front, Kohler operates a handful of spas in the US and Scotland. The spas offer massages, therapeutic water treatments, and other services, and are paired with Kohler retail stores that sell some of the same equipment and bath fixtures. The company plans to replicate the synergistic model in other markets.
Renowned as a leader in bath and kitchen design and technology, the company continues to innovate within the industry. It has developed a digitally controlled shower system offering about two-dozen different body spray options at the touch of a button. Its Hatbox toilet combines a minimalist tankless design with powerful flushing capabilities. The company also develops eco-friendly toilet products that incorporate water-efficient design and use at least 20% less water than standard 1.6-gallon toilets. Another toilet offers touch screen user interface, a heated seat, and speakers.
Kohler operates through more than 50 manufacturing plants, 25 subsidiaries and affiliates, and sales offices worldwide.
The slump in the housing market has caused Kohler to contract. The company implemented several cutbacks in 2010, including layoffs among both production and management employees, mainly in its global power, plumbing, kitchen, and bath groups.