Case Study

Thomas & Betts: Becoming partner of choice via customer centricity

12 pages
June 2016
Reference: IMD-7-1797

The case briefly reviews the history of the Thomas & Betts (T&B) company, a maker of electrical components and connectors for the industrial, construction, and utility markets. Based on a legacy of product innovation, an extensive distribution network, and customer-service capabilities, T&B became the largest supplier of electrical components in North America. Its comprehensive product portfolio and order fulfilment capabilities enabled it to deliver on a value proposition to its distribution customers of ‘one order, one shipment, and one invoice.’ The case focuses on efforts begun in 2009-10 to rebuild profitable growth after the global financial crisis based on market orientation, customer-centric product innovation, and value-added solutions. A new customer segmentation model enabled T&B to better understand the demands of end users in different market verticals and tailor offerings to their needs. In 2012, the company was acquired by engineering giant ABB. The case touches on issues arising from the ABB acquisition regarding how T&B can maintain its distinctive business model and capabilities while completing the integration with ABB’s global organizational structure.

Learning Objective

Understand the actions and capabilities required to foster ‘customer-centric’ innovation and fuel profitable growth by delivering exceptional value from primarily ‘low-tech’ products.

Segmentation, Customer Centricity, Transformation, Post-merger Integration, Organizational Design, Electrical Equipment, Manufacturing, Product Management, Electrical Components
Northern America, United States of America
Thomas and Betts, Manufacturing, Electric and Electronic Equipment
Field Research
© 2016
Available Languages
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