How Two Vendors Are Unchoking the Supply Chain

GE’s sprawling Appliance Park headquarters complex is getting a $450 million upgrade.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Consumer products from cars to winter coats remain in short supply in the aftermath of COVID.

But perhaps no sector has been impacted as profoundly as home goods, as stay-at-home customers remain firm on furniture and appliance upgrades.

Now, at least two white-goods vendors — GE Appliances (GEA) and Samsung — have announced plans to address heightened consumer demand, but are approaching the problem in different ways.

For GEA, the answer lies in domestic infrastructure. Specifically, the Louisville, Ky.-based manufacturer will invest $450 million at its Appliance Park headquarters complex to increase capacity, upgrade facilities, and launch new products.

As GEA president/CEO Kevin Nolan said in making the announcement, “We want zero distance between us and the millions of families across America we serve with our products.” Indeed, the latest allocation adds to the more than $1.3 billion GEA has already invested in its U.S. manufacturing and distribution operations over the last five years.

“GE Appliances continues to bring manufacturing back to the United States, creating jobs and economic growth,” Nolan added.

The new $450 million infusion represents one of the largest investment announcements in the company’s 100-year history, GEA said, and is expected to add more than 1,000 new jobs by the end of 2023.

Conversely, Samsung, another appliance powerhouse and a marketplace leader in mobile phones and other consumer tech, is taking a more logistical tack. Speaking at last month’s virtual supply chain roundtable at the White House, KS Choi, president/CEO of Samsung Electronics North America, committed to moving an additional 5,000 containers out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., ports by mid-January, a nearly 60 percent increase.

See: California Ports Remain a Supply Chain Chokepoint

To meet that goal, Choi said Samsung will work with its trucking providers and leverage the ports’ planned shift to 24/7 operations, as outlined at the White House conference. “While Samsung has a strong U.S. manufacturing presence” — including washer production in South Carolina and semiconductor fabrication in Texas — “resolving port congestion is urgent to ensure U.S. consumers have the home appliances and consumer electronics they want and need,” he said.

Samsung plans to move 60 percent more containers out of the Long Beach (pictured) and Los Angeles ports by mid-January.

In a statement, Samsung described the U.S. as one of its largest and most important consumer markets and expressed its commitment to “this important supply chain solution.”

During the White House meeting, Administration officials, labor leaders, port execs and CEOs committed to the around-the-clock docks, and agreed that moving cargo during less congested nighttime and weekend hours will allow trucks to move more quickly in and out of ports and along the nation’s highways.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the Administration and our business partners on these critical issues,” Samsung pledged. “Through this collective partnership, we are confident we will overcome the supply chain challenge.”