GE Industrial provides a wide range of products and services, including appliances, lighting, factory automation systems, plastics and resins, security and sensing technologies, and equipment services. An increasingly important segment is GE Industrial's high-performance engineered plastics, which are used in cars, computers, telecommunication equipment, and construction materials.
GE has successfully streamlined the manufacturing process in its industrial segment, cutting average production time from 31 days to 26 days. The resulting increase in customer satisfaction led to a rise in total industrial orders from $74 billion in FY2006 to $90 billion in FY2007.
Around 30% of GE Industrial's 2005 revenue came from the sale of plastics. The plastic industry is very cyclical and highly sensitive to changes in raw material input costs, specifically oil, and the prices manufacturers can charge. Also, plastics are often highly substitutable, making it important for GE to constantly improve its technology and maintain efficient production processes.
GE's main competitor in the lighting products market is Koninklijke Philips Electronics, N.V. (PHG). Another significant competitor is Osram Sylvania Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Siemens AG (SI).
In appliances, GE's largest competitor is Whirlpool (WHR), which owns the Maytag line of home and commercial appliances. Whirlpool currently leads GE in terms of market share, accounting for around 50% of the U.S. market.