A blog by Ramsey Aljahmi
National Manufacturing Day was Friday, October 5 and here at Whirlpool Corporation we celebrate it all month long. I’m pleased to write this last blog in our series as working in factories has been a part by my entire life. From smelling the hydraulic oil on my father’s clothes as I sat on his lap as a child, to being an operator as an adolescent in a press shop, then becoming a supervisor, and finally working my way up to be the leader of a 2,600 person dishwasher plant. All of these experiences have shaped my views and given me invaluable experience in my position today. There are two generations in my family that have worked in manufacturing and created a better life for our families.
It’s an exciting time to be in manufacturing and there are several trends taking place as plants position themselves to be leaders in the industry. Manufacturing is embarking on a new era of robotics, which is constantly changing. Precision automation that enables great customer benefits, increased efficiencies and a new way of thinking, are critical to our speed to market. Our new way of thinking and working is World Class Manufacturing (WCM), a systematic approach involving the use of data and analytics, which reveals areas of priority for where we should focus our work. Safety, Quality and Cost matrices reveal our top priorities. It helps reduce our losses and achieve results (with a zero concept in mind) through root-cause problem solving to gain the greatest benefit to cost.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) tells us the economy is growing, not declining, which is always good news for manufacturing. This requires smart manufacturing and the use of innovation to maintain a competitive advantage. The use of sustainable energy is also a critical component to our future as it provides important financial savings that can be routed to other priorities. In addition, sustainable energy provides uninterrupted power which is crucial to production.
Personally and professionally developing our leadership talent is of utmost importance and where I spend the majority of my time (on coaching and influencing leaders). Having the skilled workers we need is an important component along our journey. Currently, we are in the midst of a skilled worker gap that needs to be addressed. Partnerships and co-ops with vocational schools, high schools and community colleges will provide a valuable pipeline of skilled labor to operate our world class processes. Sharing the needs of manufacturing with educational institutions and the reality that we are no longer the dark, dreary factories of days gone by will reposition our brand with upcoming talent to help us march confidently into the future.
To our 17,000 manufacturing employees in the United States – thank you for choosing a career in manufacturing. You enabled us to produce more than 70 million products sold last year in 170+ countries across the world.
At Whirlpool, our goal is to be the benchmark for global manufacturing excellence, delivering best in class manufacturing products at a competitive cost and creating a sustainable advantage for our company. I’m excited to be part of a global company and look forward to improving our product position in order to delight our customers and create moments that matter, just like the moments I remember with my father.