Founded in 1901, United States Steel Corporation is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in the United States and Central Europe. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., we manufacture a wide range of value-added steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction, and oil and gas industries.
Our vision is for U. S. Steel to be the industry leader in delivering high-quality, value added products and innovative solutions that address our customers' most challenging steel needs for the future. Underlying our efforts is our belief that we must operate as a principled company committed to a code of conduct that is rooted in our Gary Principles and our core values. Our core values are articulated in our S.T.E.E.L. principles set forth in our recently updated Code of Ethical Business Conduct - Safety First, Trust and Respect, Environmentally Friendly Activities, Ethical Behavior, and Lawful Business Conduct. These core beliefs have served us well for much of our history, and our commitment to them remains as strong as the products we make every day.
Our vision is about more than U. S. Steel; it is about reinforcing the economic and societal benefits associated with strong domestic manufacturing capabilities, of which steel is a foundational industry. During 2018, we continued to transform U. S. Steel through a disciplined approach committed to finding ways to innovate, grow, and overcome obstacles in order to create value and benefit the long-term interests of all U. S. Steel stakeholders, including stockholders, employees, customers and the communities where we do business. This work also included the development of a refreshed corporate strategy designed to build on our strengths and maximize the advantages we have over our competition. Our strategy builds on our proven processes and tools for our intense daily operational focus on safety, quality, delivery and cost. This refreshed strategy was approved by our Board of Directors in July 2018 and incorporates three critical success factors: winning in the most attractive markets, moving down the cost curve and moving up the talent curve, each of which is further described below.
First, we will focus on the most attractive steel markets by investing in our customers, with an emphasis on creating differentiated, innovative and value-added solutions that will help them succeed.
Second, we aim to move down the cost curve. Our efforts to improve our financial performance and our strong balance sheet enable us to reduce our costs so that we can achieve operational improvements from advanced technologies. We are also investing in our facilities to increase productivity and improve our capabilities, including through the ongoing multi-year asset revitalization effort in our North American Flat-Rolled (Flat-Rolled) segment, as well as reliability centered maintenance activities. We are implementing reliability-centered maintenance focusing on thirteen priority assets and a few others within our Flat-Rolled segment.
Third, we want to move up the talent curve by investing in our employees by providing the training and resources they need to succeed. This will help us reinforce a culture where accountability, fairness and respect are foundational, and high performance and diversity in all its forms are valued and celebrated.
We believe effectively executing our strategy will secure our position as an industry leader by reducing our vulnerabilities during down cycles, accentuating our advantages in up cycles, and enabling the creation of value - and the related rewards - for all U. S. Steel stakeholders through business cycles.
Today, our products remain the backbone of iconic landmarks across the United States. While the specific products we make now are different than in years past, what we make and why we do it are no less important. Steel surrounds us. It makes daily life safer, easier and better. And steel’s possibilities for the future are endless.