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Kaizen Promotion Officer (KPO) - GE Topload Washer
Danny has worked in manufacturing for 17 years, the past four at GE Appliances. His role is to help design engineers understand what's possible from a manufacturing standpoint.
“When the Lean team has an idea or a better process, the salaried people listen and try to make it work,” he says. “I think it's great working together rather than hourly employees having no input.”
“I was surprised at the support from the salaried side. I thought this role might be just for show, but I was wrong. It's been a great experience.”
He believes there are great opportunities for GE Appliances, its employees and consumers. “Employees can showcase what we do here in Louisville. And I think the consumer will get a great product at a good price.”
What keeps him motivated? “Knowing that I've helped make a great, quality product. Being able to walk into a store and see our product sitting on the showroom floor, and telling my kids, ‘I built that.’”
Team Leader - GE Topload Washer
Brenda Basham has worked for GE Appliances for almost five years. As a team leader on the topload washer project, she resolves issues at the line level if possible, but can escalate them when necessary.
“Now we have a better chance of issues getting addressed,” she says. “We work hand in hand with engineers and upper management. It helps to have our perspectives—to hear from the operators.”
Brenda believes that the Lean process has improved the job for the operators, in terms of ergonomics, safety and reduction of waste and clutter. “I'm really glad we embraced Lean manufacturing and everybody's working together. I think it's going to be a success from here on out—I feel more confident about the future.”
Launching a new product hasn't been easy. “The project has been filled with challenges, but with everybody working together, we've been able to resolve every little bump in the road, and resolve them quickly,” she says.
Lead Platform Engineer - GE Café™ Series French Door Refrigerator
“LEGOs® were the start of everything,” says Stew. Since he built his first LEGO mansion, Stew knew he wanted to be an engineer. “It's fascinating to me to start with nothing and end up with something great.”
Stew, an early-career engineer at GE Appliances, used unconventional methods to get ideas and improve his design for the GE Café™ Series hot water dispenser's control interface such as the screen, buttons and knobs that consumers actually use to operate the dispenser.
To get the dispenser's knob to be lit from within, Stew scoured a junkyard. “I wanted to know how to turn on the lights deep down in the structure of a car,” says Stew. His offbeat tactics helped him determine how to engineer the push and pull knob, which has similarities to an automobile's radio controls, to get a glow.
Product Manager - GE Topload Laundry
“It is a new world for GE Appliances,” Heather Koyama says. “We are in the middle of a billion-dollar investment that is providing new opportunities around every corner.”
Heather is the product manager for topload laundry products. Product management, part of marketing, is a cross-functional role and focuses on profitability and product line performance. The product managers work with several different departments and teams to develop and maintain the best products in the marketplace.
Heather joined GE Appliances eleven years ago and has worked in product management for about four and a half years. Her personal values influence her work every day, particularly as it relates to product safety, quality and overall business execution.