GE Pares Back Appliance Production, Electrolux Prepares for Same

GE Appliances will temporarily reduce or suspend production at four manufacturing facilities beginning March 20.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

At least two major white-goods manufacturers, GE Appliances (GEA) and Electrolux, plan to tap the brakes on production amid the spread of coronavirus.

In a statement, GEA announced that it is reducing or temporarily suspending operations at factories across four states, including laundry lines in Louisville, Ky., Roper production in Lafayette, Ga., and Monogram manufacturing in Selmer, Tenn. The company will focus instead on “critical products our country needs.”

The actions, which will begin Friday, March 20 and extend over the following two weeks, are being taken voluntarily to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the anticipated impact on the healthcare system, the vendor said.

However, GEA’s distribution centers will remain operational to provide inventory and parts to customers, and delivery and repair services will continue unabated, albeit with precautionary measures in effect to protect employees and consumers.

As GEA President and CEO Kevin Nolan noted last week, the company has taken multiple steps to reduce the risk of its employees spreading or contracting the virus, including limiting visitors to its facilities, restricting domestic and international travel, and reinforcing the importance of appropriate cleaning measures in high-touch areas. He added that GEA has made “great strides to secure the parts and materials we need to keep our plants operating and service unwavering.”

Meanwhile, Electrolux is bracing for a possible slowdown in demand due to government countermeasures and changing consumer behavior. In a heads-up to investors, the manufacturer said there is a high probability that the global spread of the coronavirus “will have negative effects on the demand side,” and that the company is continuously assessing further needs for “production adjustments and mitigating activities.”

For its part, “We’re stepping up our efforts to encourage more employees to work remotely and we’re reshaping the way we work at manufacturing sites in highly impacted areas to ensure the health and safety of our people,” said Electrolux President and CEO Jonas Samuelson. “At the same time, we of course want to safeguard the needs of our consumers and trade partners.”

On a positive note, Electrolux indicated that the supply of components and finished products out of China is steadily improving, which will allay the delivery delays and higher logistics costs the company encountered earlier this year.