Here at Whirlpool, we mention the term ‘value-added’ continually, and for good reason. Grasping what the term means in an office environment and what it applies to can be more difficult, but in our manufacturing plants one can easily understand what it means.
In my experience working in manufacturing, there are many variables that come into play when determining value-added activities in a process or to an outcome, which, in this case, is our product. Out of all of the variables that go into this equation, the most important variable(s), in my opinion, are the people involved with the product, day in, and day out.
In my role on Greenville’s Lean Team, working with people on our manufacturing processes was part of my daily life. One thing that jumped out at me is how passionate the operators are about their work and the part they play in making our iconic products. The emotion that they exhibit within their roles is definitive proof that they care about what we provide to our consumers. Their understanding about how the product they help make affects the lives of our consumers results in engaged participation in projects and a honest desire to continually improve.
After projects were completed in a given area, the operators, whether directly involved with the project or not, would come up and talk to me about ways to reduce waste and increase the value-added content of the given process; they realize that improving our operations and product doesn’t end when we close out a project. Their passion to continually improve their job or functional area challenges us and keeps us operating as One Team with One Purpose, which is to win trust, one consumer at a time.
The experience I had challenged me on a daily basis, and the lessons learned in my year at the Greenville plant will help me continue to be an effective leader throughout my career. The men and women who work in our facilities carry a passion for our products that is second to none. My experience in manufacturing is not unique; I would encourage everyone to spend time, or if possible, a portion of their Whirlpool career exploring our many fantastic and rewarding career opportunities in manufacturing at our plants.
This is why Manufacturing Matters to me.
Throughout October, we are celebrating U.S. manufacturing — and the men and women who work in our plants to bring innovation to life every day. Casey Wagner, a former Lean Manufacturing Analyst at the Greenville Plant, and member of the Global Supply Chain Leadership Development Program, shared his thoughts on why Manufacturing Matters to him.