A Big Year For General Electric Shareowners: GE Store, New Focus, Great Ideas

The LEAP engine, which took its maiden flight last fall, has 3D printed parts and components made from next-generation materials called ceramic composites.

GE’s industrial shift also brings benefits like the GE Store. “It means that every business in GE can share and access the same technology, markets, structure and intellect,” Immelt writes. “The value of the GE Store is captured by faster growth and higher margins; it makes the totality of GE more competitive than the parts.”

The GE Store allows the company to take FAA-certified alternators from its jet engines and use them to build better oil pumps. It can also use medical imaging technology to inspect subsea pipelines. “No other company has the ability to transfer intellect and technology as GE can through the Store,” Immelt writes.

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A group of analysts who recently visited GE’s research headquarters in Schenectady, N.Y., seem to get the point. “Everyone shops at the GE store,” wrote Nigel Cole, analyst at Morgan Stanley. “We believe the cross pollination of technologies strongly endorses the conglomerate structure.”

GE has also taken its cue from startups and started innovating its product development process and working closer to customers. “We have put everything on the clock, launching a process called ‘FastWorks,’ based on the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley,” Immelt writes. “We are already seeing shorter product cycles, quicker IT implementation, and faster customer response than any of our competitors.”

Steve Winoker, Sanford Bernstein analyst, recently noted that these changes are what underpins the long view for investors in GE. “Our long term investment thesis is predicated on portfolio transformation, simplification, and cultural change—all of which are on track,” Winoker wrote.

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