The General Electric Company's (GE's) iconic Appliances division enjoyed a significant role at the company throughout the 20th century, representing one of the most recognized engines of the GE brand. By the 21st century, GE had changed its focus to technology and infrastructure businesses, and GE Appliances' contribution represented less than 5% of GE's revenue and profit.
This case examines GE Appliances' journey through a failed sale/spin process into a decision to invest in new products, renovated factories, and people to run the business better. The focus is the unavoidable interconnection of business strategy and organizational capability, and the three teaching notes included with the case offer exploration from business strategy, new product introduction (NPI), and industrial engineering and supply chain management perspectives. Discussion points also include optimization, making versus buying, human resources, change management, and workforce development.