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Whirlpool Corporation

Material Flow Replenishment Allows Flexible Lean Enterprise

Whirlpool

Whirlpool Corporation selected Zebra Location Solutions Material Flow Replenishment because, among best-in-class evaluated competitors, it was a proven system that met its needs. Through implementing Material Flow, Whirlpool wanted to achieve several goals, including improved material replenishment response times, improved visibility to the plant floor, secure enhanced historical data and add data and tools to improve problem solving.

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The Challenge

Whirlpool Corporation, the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, knows first-hand the benefits of real-time visibility on its plant floor. Whirlpool implemented Zebra Enterprise Solutions real-time location-based Material Flow Replenishment solution to manage hundreds of parts inside its manufacturing plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The Solution

Whirlpool Corporation selected Zebra Enterprise Solutions Material Flow Replenishment because, among best-in-class evaluated competitors, it was a proven system that met its needs. Through implementing Material Flow, Whirlpool wanted to achieve several goals, including improved material replenishment response times, improved visibility to the plant floor, secure enhanced historical data and add data and tools to improve problem solving. In addition, the company set out to improve its material movement process and overall operational efficiencies by keeping costs in-line, reducing delivery downtime, reducing replenishment time and improving equipment utilization.

Results

Whirlpool deployed Material Flow within 45 days at the Fort Smith plant. Implementing Material Flow improved plant floor and network visibility and automated the material replenishment process. As a result, Whirlpool saw numerous benefits and met the company's goals.

Greater efficiency through real-time visibility:

  • Improved labor and equipment efficiencies within the forklift delivery system
  • Improved line-side delivery efficiency by creating "taxi-queues" based on prioritization of requests
  • Increased visibility by enabling delivery operators to clearly see replenishment requests

Improved reporting:

  • Ability to generate reports and analytics
  • Use of real-time and historical data as a problem solving tool to make educated decisions
  • Create accurate records and reports to track statuses, requests, deliveries and operator functions

Reduced replenishment downtime and cycle times:

  • Reduced delivery related downtime and replenishmentment cycle time
  • Increased visibility by enabling delivery operators to clearly see replenishment requests and allow drivers to receive replenishment signals anywhere along their route

Materials Flow Replenishment is a comprehensive enterprise execution management solution that streamlines the replenishment process, providing manufacturing operations with the ability to centrally manage and control supplier collaboration, internal supply and facility-wide communication across multiple facilities or within a single location.

The solution enables customers to quickly respond to changes in inventory, production status and their customer requests by eliminating disjointed, labor intensive processes and providing members of the supply chain access to actionable, real-time data from the factory floor to the internal and external supply. In addition, Material Flow seamlessly integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) to further enhance operational efficiency.

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