news-Eric-HoweI currently work at our manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee. This plant was given a “fresh start” back in 2012, when a brand new plant was constructed. The new plant allowed 3 smaller, older plants owned and operated by Whirlpool to be consolidated into one building.

When I first started in the Materials Department here in Cleveland, I was given a unique opportunity to see both new and old school manufacturing by just driving across town. At the new plant, we execute 1×1 production on our highest volume line, achieved the lowest OSHA incident rate in NAR, and we practice the concept of pacemaker scheduling. These are three examples of what cross-functional teamwork among the 1,500 employees who work here in Cleveland can accomplish.

Seeing and being a part of accomplishments like those are my favorite part about working in manufacturing. It takes an immense amount of cross-functional teamwork to launch a new product or process; working at a plant we can physically see the results of our effort. Being able to share that feeling of success with people from different backgrounds and departments after a successful launch, is a unique opportunity only manufacturing can provide.

Everything we do in our jobs has a purpose, and that purpose is to satisfy our customer. Whether we work in a support department or on the assembly line, everybody working together to satisfy the customer adds up to building the best quality product we can make. Whenever I set foot inside someone else’s home, it’s become second nature for me to check out their appliances. Seeing a product I know was made in one of our plants in the United States triggers a sense of pride. I see the pay off for the hard work thousands of people have put in to create a great product. The hours we work are worth it knowing we’ve simplified the life of a happy customer.

That’s 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. Eric Howe, project engineer, and member of the Manufacturing Leadership Development Program at the Cleveland plant, shared his thoughts on why Manufacturing Matters to him.