June 20, 2019

GE Appliances opens "smart warehouse" in Georgia

GE Appliances opens "smart warehouse" in Georgia

Distribution network now delivers in one day to 90 percent of the U.S., company says.

By DC Velocity Staff

White goods retailer GE Appliances (GEA) has opened a $55 million "smart warehouse" about an hour outside of Atlanta, saying its expanded distribution network can now deliver in one day to 90 percent of the U.S.

The Area Distribution Center (ADC) is the newest addition to the company's $150 million national investment to grow its distribution capabilities and is located in Commerce, Ga., 70 miles northeast of Atlanta on Interstate 85, Louisville, Kentucky-based GEA said Monday.

Originally an arm of industrial giant General Electric, GE Appliances was sold in 2016 to Chinese home appliance manufacturer Haier for $5.6 billion.The company makes large electrical goods such as refrigerators and freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers and dryers, air conditioners, water heaters, water softeners, and water filtration systems.

GEA distributes those goods through a web of 12 ADCs and 170 local delivery facilities, including expanded warehouses that opened in Dallas in 2018 and in Denver this February. The newest smart warehouse is GEA's largest single distribution investment to date and represents the future of all warehouses in its network, the company said.

The Commerce, Ga., site will serve as GEA's Southeast Region Appliance Distribution Center, boasting distribution innovations based on a blend of digital intelligence and agility, the firm said. The facility features:

  • a smart distribution system that analyzes big data to solve for the most efficient shipping solution, tracking where the appliance is going, the customer who ordered it, when it is scheduled to arrive, and what happens to it along the way,
  • lift trucks enhanced with Basiloid lifting arms, sensor technology, variable-speed controls, navigation lights, and cameras,
  • a building designed with the goal of moving each appliance only once, relying on symmetrical warehousing techniques to reduce product handling by 50 percent,
  • a Smart Yard platform that uses GPS, long-range RFID, and cloud-based technologies to provide real-time visibility of assets or trailers. A Control Tower team uses that data to track and trace shipments in real time from anywhere in the world and quickly identify and solve issues, and
  • virtual reality (VR) training tools that cut training time in half for new operators.

"Today's consumer researches, shops and buys across various channels—from physical stores to online stores," Mark Shirkness, vice president of distribution for GE Appliances, said in a release. "In this omnichannel world, consumers are empowered, and they want their products now—or as close to now as possible. At GE Appliances, the owner is boss, and our infrastructure investments are designed to exceed our owners' expectations."

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