In this environment, “everything has to be focused on growth,” he said, and good business people will: focus on operational strength; make a real investment in technological innovations, with the aim of being dedicated to customer service; maximize what they can get out of their customers; understand globalization; and take an interest in growth industries.
Like every great company, GE stands for competitiveness, Immelt said, and it is based on a “culture of productivity and a business model that generates cash.”
Immelt said his company’s current strategy is to focus on simplification and reduce its processes, with the view that “every dollar that doesn’t fund growth is a resource that’s wasted.”
“Everything is based on cash flow,” he added, “otherwise you can’t invest in growth in the future.”
Immelt said he spends one week a month in front of his customers so that he has a good understanding of how they feel, and he noted that GE is spending 15%-20% more each year on new products and innovations. “Your future profitability will be crushed if you’re not a technological innovator,” he said.
GE is investing $25 billion in services, he said, which he described as “ways to make customers more profitable and good margins for you.” For example, he said that his company is developing the ability to offer home builders a complete package of goods and services. “Customers are going to be the king and they are going to rule in the next 10 years and beyond,” he said.
“Here are the places where I would drive change,” he said: operational productivity; new trends and innovation; building a portfolio of services; “finding ways to make yourself indispensable for your customers;” understanding the world; and “a desire to grow and build new things.”
Next Year in Orlando
The 2005 International Builders’ Show is scheduled for Jan. 13-16 in Orlando, FL. Visit our Web site for more information.