Whirlpool

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Unfullfilled potential

Inside Sales Representative (Former Employee) Knoxville, TN (US)

ProsIt's a big company and as such you can be in one part of the company and life is wonderful...other parts of the company it is just a job. If you can build internal networks effectively there is some upward mobility, but as other posts mention you need to be ready to move to Benton Harbor, Michigan. The upside is you are at a Fortune 500 company doing meaningful work and you get to enjoy a small town atmosphere.

ConsMarc Bitzer, President WHR North America is a very intelligent numbers driven manager. I simply didn't interact with him enough to know if he really understands the power of company culture.

The management of the sales force is a severe hindrance to market share. Over my six years with the company the numbers of sales people have done nothing but go down. I saw very little that indicated they kept the best in place.

During my time with the company I saw lots of jobs awarded that were never posted internally or externally. A lot of hiring was done by the good old boy network. So if you want to join the company because you believe it is a meritocracy...keep dreaming.

At this point there is a definite youth movement as well. During the layoff in January Whirlpool lost a lot of experience in it's field sales group. At the annual sales convention it was noticeable that there were very few grey heads anymore. Some of these changes may be growing pains as Marc Bitzer seems intent on giving the company a more international flavor in Benton Harbor and less of a men's only club in the sales organization. However, as a result at times you have fairly inexperienced managers that have a lot of clout about what happens to you and your career. Mistakes will be and have been made.

Advice to Senior Management1. Focus on Quality, not Innovation.
2. Lead with Values, not rules and enforcement.
3. Learn how to sell and market your products.

Internally and externally the company like to talk about it's "consumer centric innovation" and how it delivers value to the customer and to the shareholder. Micro-Etch shelves in refrigeration...flop. Fans in front loaders...whimper. A whole new drive system in top load...arghh! Just because Gillette did a study on it (innovation) 20 years ago doesn't mean it's a hard and fast path to follow for all industries at all times. An appliance is a consumer DURABLE product. The lifespan is 10 years or more. Why focus so much attention and energy on having a constant stream of new launches? Refocus the "innovation" on incremental quality improvement and keep the same basic product for a few years longer. GE by comparison has hardly changed a handle in ten years, but soldiers on because innovation simply doesn't matter that much and they sell better than Whirlpool does.

Frontline employees in sales, credit, service, etc are micromanaged with 15+ metrics measured constantly. Find 1-3 things that matter, measure those things, hold people accountable for those things. The other stuff you manage. One thing I always hated was signing up for meetings. That's right...management wouldn't force people to use their calendar's and so you had to sign up for meetings like you were in the third grade signing up to go to the library or something. I can remember commenting to managers about this. Their replies were something like, "if you were in management you'd understand. It's too hard because someone always wants to change the session they are in." Well, I had been in management before (as a store owner and with a company at the top of the "great place to work" survey) and it is supposed to be called management for a reason...because you have to manage things. Like exceptions to scheduling. To manage with values instead of rules you have to have better managers.

As I mentioned before right now many are young and don't have enough experience to shake a stick at. That is the fault of upper leadership not valuing the development of leadership bench strength enough over the years. However, over the years it has been a good old boys network so there was no development going on. The company is paying a price for that now.

As far as learning to sell and market products. Can you believe that a Fortune 500 company has no CRM solution in place for it's sales force? It's freakin' 2012!! Those of us that kept account history did so for years on excel and word documents. A CRM solution is just a basic tool that will help deliver and secure continuity of service for the trade customers. Then back to the issue of not enough sales reps in the company to service the trade. There are literally thousands of one and two store "mom & pop" accounts that could grow (some double or triple) business with the appropriate level of effort. However, the current leaders (Fettig? Bitzer? or some bean counter in finance) see sales cost as an expense to be cut rather than a tool to grow sales. It's almost ludicrous. Mom & Pop aside there are too many larger accounts that don't get the attention they deserve either. Retail dealers or Builder dealers do not get the attention they need to drive market share overall for the company...and it can't be done without hiring more sales people.

Whirlpool with the addition of Maytag should be close to 50% market share. They have trouble holding at 40%. I haven't checked in a while, but last I saw they were sinking towards 36%. There's a saying at Whirlpool, "If we ever get our act together we will steamroll the competition...if they get their act together they will steamroll us."

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    works@whirlpool

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    I worked at Whirlpool full-time for more than a year


    Pros: Respected Brand,worlds biggest home appliance company Cons: demotivation,less respect to workers etc No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Sr. Analyst

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Benton Harbor, MI (US)

    I worked at Whirlpool full-time for more than 5 years


    Pros: Great starter company to work for. Care… Cons: More development opportunities are needed for experienced employees. WHR encourages and supports continuous growth and development for young employees, but when you've been… Advice to Senior Management: Focus on growth and development for strong candidates. … Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend More
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