BENTON HARBOR, MICH.
— Whirlpool will visit dealers in 70 cities beginning this month as part of a seven-week training program for sales associates.
The initiative is designed to train dealers’ sales teams on the key selling points of the company’s latest cooking, refrigeration, kitchen-cleanup and laundry innovations.
The multi-day training, led by field-brand experts, targets independent retailers, larger retail accounts, associate contract distributors, showroom consultants, designers and home-improvement stores. Sessions will be broken out into various segments in order to deliver customized training to meet the needs of each specific audience, Whirlpool said.
Whirlpool sales training manager Liz Okon said the program “makes learning about the company’s products easy and entertaining,” and that a well-educated sales team offers customers better in-store experiences and gives companies more opportunities to grow their businesses.
Customers can contact their local account reps for more information and tour dates, the company said.
In other Whirlpool news, the world’s largest majap maker announced plans to open a 1.4 millionsquare- foot manufacturing facility and distribution center in Cleveland, Tenn. The state-of-the-art plant for premium built-in cooking appliances will replace a 100-year-old factory nearby.
Whirlpool will invest $120 million in the project and expects to add approximately 130 new jobs to its current 1,500-employee workforce. Construction is slated to begin in the fourth quarter.
Chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig said the new facility represents “the largest single investment we’ve ever made anywhere in the world and reinforces our commitment to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.”
Whirlpool manufacturing VP Al Holaday added that the project was made possible by the support of local, state and federal officials.
The new plant, like GE’s plan to keep production of its next-generation, smart grid-enabled laundry line at its main Appliance Park facility in Louisville, Ky., represents a reversal of the industry’s outsourcing strategy of the past decade, which has cost the U.S. economy thousands of manufacturing jobs.