September 3, 2019
“When you think about our team, our technologies — let alone the way we operate and the relationships we enjoy around the world — I continue to believe our best days are still very much ahead of us.” That was GE Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. addressing attendees at GE’s Global Customer Summit last week in Crotonville, New York, on the company’s leafy learning campus near the Hudson River. More than 200 senior leaders from around the world gathered for the annual event, which included more than 140 customers as well as GE leaders and outside experts. On the agenda? Executives discussed the interplay between globalization and nationalism, innovation, business strategy and infrastructure projects, among many topics.
Taking the global view: Focusing primarily on markets outside the U.S. and Europe, the summit drew executives from Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. In addition to hearing from GE leaders on topics like digital disruption and business innovation, attendees got a chance to break out into small groups and pick topics to discuss among themselves — even take in a strategy session at the West Point military academy, just a few miles up the road. Fresh off a series of strategy meetings at GE Aviation’s headquarters in Evendale, Ohio, Culp flew in on the last day for a candid Q&A session. “We try to boil strategy down to its essence,” he explained. “For me, it’s always been answers to the following two questions: What game are we playing and how do we win?”
Learn more here about what global leadership means in a rapidly changing world.
In 2001, co-founder Tony Fernandes acquired AirAsia from the Malaysian government for one ringgit, or about 25 U.S. cents. Nearly 20 years later, the once-struggling airline is a booming low-cost carrier, doing deals that are — well — a few decimal places bigger. In June, AirAsia made history when it agreed to purchase jet engines and services valued at $23.1 billion at list price — the industry’s largest deal-by-value ever — from CFM International, a 50-50 joint venture between GE and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines. It was a milestone, but GE and AirAsia have been on the journey together for the last two decades. “When we’re doing great, it’s easy to be a partner,” said Fernandes, now the CEO of AirAsia Group. “GE has been there through the good and the bad.”
Getting off the ground: After acquiring AirAsia, Fernandes sought help from aircraft leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services, or GECAS, to refinance debt on its planes and engines. He and his team had to convince GE to take the risk. “One day if I’m bad, you just repossess two airplanes,” Fernandes said. “If I make this model work … one day we may buy 1,000 engines off you.” Make that 1,000 and counting: With the latest deal, AirAsia has now purchased more than 1,000 CFM56 and LEAP engines, becoming the largest LEAP-1A customer of CFM. “GE,” Fernandes said, “has been a very big part of our success.”
After its acquisition in 2001, AirAsia faced the fallout of the Sept. 11 attacks as well as the SARS outbreak of 2003, which made people wary of flying. Learn more here about how the airline has weathered the storms to become a major player in aviation.
Competitive sporting events like the long jump require not only strong legs but also upper-body capabilities — athletes in training need to use their hands to grip a bar for squats and other exercises. This was especially a problem for New Zealander Anna Grimaldi, who was born without a right hand, and whose standard prosthetic wasn’t quite up to the task. “My old arm was just an everyday child’s arm attachment, designed to lift a glass of water or a shopping bag,” Grimaldi said. “It wasn’t designed to lift 50 kilograms off the ground.” Nonetheless, Grimaldi took home the gold for New Zealand in the 2016 Paralympics and is now in training for her next world championship — with the help of a tough-as-nails titanium prosthesis built by 3D printer.
Steeled for competition: Grimaldi benefited from the tech savvy of the New Zealand firm Zenith Tecnica, which specializes in a particular kind of 3D printing — electron beam melting. Using printers made by Arcam EBM, which is part of GE Additive, the company fuses titanium powder layer by layer into a limb that’s strong enough to grab a barbell. 3D printing allows for the manufacture of customized objects suited to the user’s needs — in this case, Grimaldi’s desire for the gold. She said, “Just to have it personalized made it feel so much more mine, and when I got it on the bar for the first time I actually felt like: Wow, this must be what it feels like to hold a bar in two hands.”
Click here to learn more about Grimaldi’s feat.
1. Bite Guard
According to researchers at Brown University, graphene, one of the strongest materials on earth, could be used as protection from some of the most annoying — and dangerous — creatures on earth: mosquitoes.
2. Regrowth Factor
Synthetic antibodies — engineered versions of the molecules that fight infection in our bodies — could be used to encourage tissue regeneration, helping treat conditions like irritable bowel disease and degenerative diseases of the eyes, lungs, bones and liver, according to scientists at the University of Toronto.
3. Night Vision
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School want to give humans a superpower — the ability to see in the dark — by way of nanoparticles injected into the eyes.
Read more about this week’s Coolest Things On Earth here.
— QUOTE OF THE DAY —
“For me and for our company, ‘lean’ is much more than manufacturing. It’s a mindset with respect to continuous improvement that can impact any aspect of any business.”
— H. Lawrence Culp Jr., GE chairman and CEO
Quote: GE Reports. Image: GE.
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