Helping Our Customers Succeed

Helping Our Customers Succeed

GE has become a more market-facing organization in recent years, where customers are increasingly important collaborators—particularly in the product-development cycle. A deep understanding of customer needs is critical to the most effective partnerships, particularly since our customers’ success complements our own.

To this end, GE has developed the Gold Standard Marketing (GSM) Framework, which enables Marketing to fulfill its role in unlocking value and innovation across GE. Gold Standard ensures customer centricity at the different lifecycle stages of our products and services: from market knowledge to commercial activation, including customer segmentation and targeting, value creation and pricing, and branding and communications.

As part of GSM, GE has developed a number of ways to engage our customers in the process of developing products. Whether GE is measuring our products’ impact on customers or convening a global summit to facilitate cross-regional learning and networking, the Company is committed to strengthening our bond with customers and growing our mutual accomplishment. Examples of GSM best practices follow:
 
Differential Value Proposition, or DVP, is a metric we began using in 2011 that indicates the differential value we bring to our customer. It is especially suited to measure the strength of a B2B customer relationship. How is DVP calculated? DVP% is the dollar value estimate of the differential impact from GE’s products, services and solutions on our Customers Profits (compared with their next best alternative) divided by the dollars of GE Revenue from the customer. DVP% is determined for each customer by listening to the stakeholders in the Customers Organization in a structured “Voice of the Customer” process.
 
GE is using DVP to align all GE functions with customers, giving them a voice (and quantifying that voice and backing with process rigor), delivering plans and accountability to direct investments and growth, and putting marketing squarely in the middle of every growth conversation. All from the simple question: “Are our customers making more money doing business with us?”

From the customer’s perspective, the DVP metric directly quantifies the value of their relationship with GE relative to their next best alternative. DVP% equals the incremental profit that customers make for each dollar they buy from GE. It is providing our businesses with a deeper understanding of what our customers value most in our products, services and relationships today. It highlights where we can improve and helps us identify where we should consider investing in new products, services and markets to meet our customers’ changing needs. DVP is one of the top initiatives sponsored by our CEO.
 
Access GE allows our customers to tap into GE’s unique insights, tools and operational best practices to address their business challenges. From topics such as leadership development practices to applying lean principles to developing a culture of continuous improvement, with Access GE, we are able to make the experience and know-how of experts from across our organization available to our customers. Since 2000, we’ve conducted over 8,500 Access GE engagements to help more than 6,500 customers address diverse business issues. And to engage with even more customers globally, GE Capital launched a new Web-based Access GE customer portal in March 2012.

Over the years, GE has continued to partner with its customers to help them find ways to make their businesses better. This year, GE created hundreds of customer partnerships; below are just a few examples of how our businesses work with our customers to ensure a more sustainable world.

Cutting costs and shrinking a carbon footprint can start with changing a lightbulb. That’s the idea behind WattWise, a GE Capital mobile application designed to help franchise restaurant operators regulate and reduce their energy costs from lighting, quickly and conveniently, on their mobile devices.

Running a franchise restaurant can be energy-intensive. According to the 2011 Chain Restaurant Industry Review, restaurants spend up to five times more on utilities than other commercial businesses. Lighting accounts for 13% of a restaurant’s total energy usage. And many franchisees are small-to-medium businesses, without the resources to conduct full-scale energy audits of their own.

When it came time to test the WattWise app, GE Capital’s Access GE team reached out to Wendy’s franchise owner and longtime customer Junior Bridgeman, to see if the application could improve his margins and cut his energy usage. Access GE focuses on ways to share tools, resources, insights and learnings to help GE Capital customers tackle some of their most pressing business challenges. Engagements can vary from best practice sharing sessions and customized workshops to extended coaching sessions that may continue for several months.

GE Capital recommended taking a close look at Bridgeman’s lighting costs. Using the WattWise app, GE Capital conducted lighting audits at two of Bridgeman’s Wendy’s restaurants. WattWise recommended changes to the restaurants’ existing lighting solutions, explained the potential energy savings and outlined the total expected cost to implement these changes.

The WattWise tool helped Bridgeman to identify an average energy savings of more than $500 per location. Expanded to include all of Bridgeman’s Wendy’s locations, this could result in a cost savings of more than $80,000 a year.

Another example of Access GE’s strategic support for customers is a unique 2.5-day Executive Education experiential learning curriculum developed exclusively for strategic middle-market clients of GE Capital. “Middle Market” is defined as companies with revenues from $100MM–$1B, a segment that research has shown to be “the engine of growth” for the U.S. economy.

This executive education program is one part of a five-year thought leadership partnership between GE Capital and the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, whose Executive Education program has been recognized as one of the top two programs of its kind in the world. The partnership has resulted in the establishment of “The National Center for the Middle Market,” dedicated to providing middle-market companies exclusive access to research-based thought leadership, customer engagement and capabilities building, as well as talent recruiting from the best and brightest at OSU. Through Access GE, twice a year customers are invited to each bring three to five executives from their senior management team to participate in a world-class, multi-customer event that includes academic instructors, GE experts and external expert practitioners who share frameworks, best practices and foundational insights in areas known to drive business growth: innovation, customer focus, strategy. Each client team also works with an OSU coach on real business issues facing its organization with a remote coaching component to support the business for several months in driving culture change after the program.

GE Healthcare High Efficiency General Imaging Ultrasound systems are among the most energy-efficient in the industry. Using EU industry-developed power consumption testing standards, a LOGIQ E9 consumes 234 kWh, or 17%, less electricity per year, and the LOGIQ S8 consumes 527 kWh, or 43% less electricity per year while enhancing image acquisition and quality, compared with the previous generation of GE systems they replace. For hospitals that are actively addressing facility energy use, upgrading six previous-generation GE ultrasound systems in their existing fleet to GE’s High Efficiency LOGIQ E9 and LOGIQ S8 General Imaging Ultrasound systems can save about 18,200 kWh in electricity consumption over eight years of use, avoiding approximately 10 metric tons of CO2 emissions on the U.S. grid. This is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of two cars on U.S. roads, or the CO2 absorbed by about three acres of southeastern U.S. forest each year.

GE Healthcare’s High Efficiency General Imaging Ultrasound systems, the LOGIQ E9 and LOGIQ S8, enhance image acquisition and quality while improving productivity through reduced scan time compared with prior GE technology. Using Scan Assistant, an innovative software tool that intuitively assists the sonographer with customizable automations at each step of the ultrasound exam, can reduce keystrokes by 66–79% and exam time by 42–54%, or by about five minutes per exam.

For additional information about our partnership efforts, view the ecomagination, healthymagination and GE reports sites through our Reports section.

Sustainable Growth 2012

GE’s 2012 Sustainable Growth Summary highlights progress against commitments on our social, environmental and economic impacts—or, what we call People, Planet and Economy.

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