GREENVILLE — Whirlpool Corporation’s Greenville plant was the scene of a celebration Wednesday as line workers there produced the one millionth KitchenAid hand mixer for 2016.
Production of KitchenAid’s hand mixer was brought back to Greenville in 2011 after being outsourced to China in 2004. The company says hundreds of thousands have been manufactured in any given year since, but had never reached one million units in a year’s time.
Number One Million was one of 16 special mixers built exclusively in honor of the milestone. The special mixers feature a dark, iridescent paint scheme.
“We’ve never hit the one million threshold on these in a single year,” said Eric Ernst, senior manager of operations at KitchenAid in Greenville. “It’s a great American product being built right here in the U.S.”
Carl-Martin Lindahl, general manager and vice president for KitchenAid Small Appliances globally, was on hand to witness production of the one millionth mixer. He said he was pleased with the milestone reached at the facility.
“It’s a good day for us,” he remarked. “We’ve actually grown our hand mixer business substantially since we brought it back here to manufacturing in Greenville, Ohio.”
Lindahl pointed out that wherever new KitchenAid hand mixers sold, all were made in Greenville.
“We have brought all the production of hand mixers to Greenville, Ohio,” he said. “So this is the only place in the world, the products you see here on the floor, are products we ship everywhere around the world.”
When asked why Whirlpool decided to bring hand mixer manufacturing back to America in 2011, Lindahl said the company felt the Greenville plant was capable of providing the quality the company expected.
“There are certain products we can make better here than anywhere in the world. And we deemed at the time that the hand mixer fit that criteria,” he said. “For us it’s a competitive advantage having a facility like Greenville here.”
He noted that KitchenAid produces more than 2 million stand mixers per year at the Greenville plant. “Stand mixers are well ahead of hand mixers in volume,” he said.
Ken Hossler, the Greenville plant site lead, said, “Obviously, since we brought this product back from China, this gives you the confidence that you’re really doing the right things. To be able to perform efficiently, with quality to provide a product to our consumers that they aspire to have.”
“To me that means we’re continuing to grow, and supplying jobs and opportunities for men and women here in Ohio and the United States.”
“The workers here locally have a phenomenal ‘can-do’ attitude. They’re so competitive. The desire to win each and every day is very evident in their work. I can’t speak enough about the men and women here at this facility,” he added.
Hossler said while a few of the 16 special hand mixers will be set aside for historical display at the Greenville plant and at Whirlpool’s corporate headquarters, some of the mixers will be raffled off to company employees.
“Hopefully some of our folks on the floor will have an opportunity to win one of those for sure. We’ll all put our names in, so who knows who is going to win,” he said.