When suggestion after suggestion poured in that transportation was an issue for Amana employees, management worked to solve the problem.
The Employee Transportation Program officially launched at Whirlpool Corporation’s Amana, Iowa plant in late July. The new pilot program, which began by transporting up to 56 hourly employees per shift to Amana from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and back after their shift, will expand as the demand for the program grows. Refrigerators for multiple Whirlpool Corporation brands are manufactured at the plant.
Employees taking part in the program were excited stepping off the bus in Amana for the first time, as the bus is equipped with free WiFi and charging ports, and employees are free to relax, nap, read, or do other leisurely activities while riding the bus. This program not only gives them more time to themselves before and after their shifts, but also reduces wear and tear on their own cars, provides a reliable mode of transport, saves on their gas expenditures, and best of all, the pilot is completely free for employees to use. This is just one example of Whirlpool Corporation’s dedication to continuous improvement, which includes its World Class Manufacturing platform.
World Class Manufacturing (WCM) philosophies and methods are the foundation of how Whirlpool Corporation improves its complete manufacturing system, building quality products through developed and motivated people. WCM tools can be applied to many workstreams, not just production lines.
“We identified employee turnover as a loss in our Cost Deployment,” explains WCM Lead Flavio Rawicz. “Then we surveyed employees and stratified the data where we realized the majority of hourly employees are concentrated in a geographic area. We also developed a model bus as our pilot and we continue to monitor and evaluate employee retention performance and the need for eventual expansion in number of buses and routes.”
Under this pilot program, the bus runs daily, including runs for mandatory overtime. If participating, employees are encouraged to utilize the service every day. In addition to being a program to help employees, it also fits into Whirlpool Corporation’s sustainability goals by helping to reduce overall carbon emissions caused by fossil fuel burning automobiles.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), public transportation in the United States saves approximately 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline and about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Yet, only 14 million Americans use public transportation daily while 88 percent of all trips in the U.S. are made by car—and many of those cars carry only one person.