Lean and Six Sigma have been used in the appliance industry for many years as practiced by GE, Maytag, Whirlpool, and others. We’ll explore their use with a look at three case studies: two from Egypt, and one from India, along with two videos: one on the use of Lean at GE Appliances and one as an example of washing machine manufacturing.

Defect Reduction with Six Sigma: Egypt

In a paper titled “Defect Reduction Using Six Sigma Methodology in Home Appliance Company: A Case Study” authors Neamat Gamal Saleh Ahmed, Hanaa Soliman Abohashima, and Mohamed Fahmy Aly discuss the use of Six Sigma to achieve defect reduction in the aluminum department of a home appliance manufacturer.

The authors describe what was done in all phases of DMAIC.

An in-depth analysis identified that temperature was a significant factor in producing defects.

By determining an optimal temperature, the aluminum defect level was decreased from 10.49% to 6.1%

You can access the case study here.


Value Stream Mapping and Assembly Line Balancing: Egypt

In an article titled “Two-sided assembly line balancing of refrigeration assembly lines” authors Lamia A. Shihata and Raghda Taha discuss the use of Lean tools to achieve the best flow in a refrigerator assembly line.

Outline process charts, material flow charts, and a process flow diagram were

developed and wastes in the pre-assembly processes were detected and tabulated.

Current and future state value stream maps were constructed, and the assembly line was balanced.

Based on the work, four proposals were developed for management’s consideration. The suggested proposals reduced the number of work stations from the current number of 70 to 55 or less, reduced the number of workers needed, the total working time and idle time, and increased the production rate.

You can read the paper here.


Lean Used to Improve Productivity: India

In our final case study titled “Productivity improvement of an electrical appliance industry by implementing lean manufacturing tools and a low-cost intervention (A case study)” authors Anil Chaudhary, Ashish Kumar Singh, and M.L. Meena discuss the application of Lean tools to the manufacture of electrical meters.

Included in the study are:

  • Meter production process
  • Current Value Stream Map and Analysis
  • Future State Value Stream Map and Analysis
  • Final Before and After Lean Tools Results Table

You can access the case study here.


Lean Implementation at GE Appliances

In this short video, Lean manufacturing is highlighted in its use at GE Appliance’s Louisville, KY location.

You watch the video here.

Washing Machine Manufacturing at Electrolux

Finally, we take a look at how washing machines are made at Electrolux in their factories in Sweden and Ukraine in this video from NaLac Techniques.

You can watch the video here.