Tap the manufacturing expertise of a $150bn company

Posted on 6 Aug 2013

Companies who want to probe the manufacturing operations knowledge of the mighty GE can do so through a new portal launched by GE Capital – Access GE.

GE Capital has launched Access GE, a registered-entry web portal that connects businesspeople to expertise across the whole of GE, in disciplines from manufacturing operations to energy production and IT implementation.

Customers and qualified non-customers of GE Capital, GE’s corporate finance division, can log in and search for information from a vast selection of resources covering countries, aerospace, healthcare, energy generation, talent retention, business IT implementation, legal compliance and more.

“This is an initiative to connect manufacturers to someone in the wider GE business who is an expert on, for example, lean manufacturing or risk management says Maeve McMahon, customer development manager at GE Capital EMEA, who runs the project in Europe.

Launched in the UK in July at the launch event of GE Capital and Warwick Business School’s survey of mid-market companies in Europe, ‘Leading from the Middle’, Access GE is an upgraded and improved version of a business connections portal called ‘At the Customer For the Customer’.

Access GE portal
Access GE portal, launched in June, connects GE Capital customers and some non-customers to GE's manufacturing nous

The improved site makes connections between a customer in any field of business and someone within GE, or a GE customer, elsewhere in the world who have the specific knowledge to answer the enquiry.

“GE manufactures many different things and our GE Capital customers do too – all of which requires specific knowledge,” says Ms McMahon. “[Via Access GE] we can give them insight into, for example, how we’ve implemented software in a foreign country, how we’ve struggled in a particular field, or how to enter Russia successfully.”

A search engine pulls down references to a specific enquiry, about subjects that could range from composite engineering to configuring a factory for wind turbine manufacture, to finding legal guidance in a jurisdiction in Eastern Europe or Latin America.

The user can download the information, and post specific questions in an online forum with other customers and experts in the GE group.

Very specific requests can be send by email, where a GE Capital customer manager will endeavour to match-make the enquiry with to a person’s expertise with GE globally.

Enquiries are clubbed within four main sectors: financial best practices, operational effectiveness, growth and innovation, and leadership. “These are the five things our customers have told us are most important,” says McMahon.

Maeve McMahon
Maeve McMahon, GE Capital

Common enquiries can be categorised in one of three main sources of information; GE Expertise (for people), GE Insights (best practice knowledge on a specific business need) and Third Party Perspectives, but a search term could pool information from all three.

Several third party partner companies’ knowledge can also be reached through the portal. These partners include Booz & Co., Harvard Business Review, McKinsey & Company, Economist Intelligence Unit and Deloitte Dbriefs.

Learning from the ACFC portal, GE Capital developed Access GE because customers did not always want to go through their finance people to find information they wanted within the larger GE machine, says McMahon. “Our Capital customers don’t always want to talk to someone the “Capital” domain,” she says. “They want to speak to an engineer, or visit our aviation plant in Wales, or visit to Jenbach in Austria to see how the energy business works. That’s what we can do with Access.”

This year to date in Europe, Access GE has engineered over 100 engagements between Capital customers and either GE experts or third party contacts who have the answers to specific questions. McMahon says Access is on course to hit 200 engagements for full year 2013.

Case study: Access GE
In April, a GE Capital customer who had bought another company in the UK, wanted to integrate two ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems.
“We found someone in our Hungarian business who had that exact experience,” says Maeve McMahon. “We conducted a best practice session on post-merger integration of IT ERP systems and migration to SAP from SAP & QAD. We held one-on-one calls with our client’s CIO and the IT director in our GE home and business solutions business in Hungary and this led to a 100% net promoter score on the engagement.”

While some might say the portal is merely a website that facilitates meetings that could be arranged by calling the company direct, McMahon says it is much more.

“Imagine I’m a CFO of a mid-market business in Yorkshire and I want to expand into the Czech Republic, but I have no idea where to go start. But I met someone from GE Capital recently at a seminar in Yorkshire with the CBI about hiring and retaining people, where Eastern Europe was mentioned – Access GE will get you started.

“With recruitment, for example, an MD or CFO doesn’t have hours to spend with consultants, they just need to know if you have the local knowledge.”

Access GE was launched in the UK in June and Germany in July.
The register-only site can be found at www.access.gecapital.com/accessgeplus/login.

A demo of the portal is here: Access GE portal