Overview: How Whirlpool Corporation is transforming with PLM

For Whirlpool Corporation, innovation is inspired by the impact it has on its consumers. Products need to be easier, faster, and more intuitive, improving the customer’s home experience. To achieve its vision, the company realized it had to transform its factories and provide a more efficient product development process throughout the life of its wide portfolio of brands and products. By using Windchill, PTC’s PLM solution, Whirlpool Corporation was able to deploy its digital transformation strategy. In addition, it is exploring other transformative technologies such as digital twin, augmented reality, and data-driven design to extend product lifecycle management (PLM) across the enterprise and bring innovation to its consumers.

The results to date have been significant:

Icon_DownArrow Product development costs
Icon_DownArrow Engineering changes
Increase-Arrow Reuse of components and designs
Increase-Arrow Consumer outcomes
Increase-Arrow Guided innovation
Increase-Arrow Quality products
Icon_DownArrow Complexity
Increase-Arrow Uptime/service levels

Challenges: Disjointed systems and processes

With company divisions and employees around the world leveraging different systems and processes, Whirlpool Corporation was struggling to efficiently and consistently deliver innovative products to market. To remain competitive, the company was on a mission to reduce its organizational complexity. Identifying PLM as its central product information source and common system, the manufacturer sought to enable cross-functional and cross-regional collaboration. It also needed to empower stakeholders requiring access to information who were not frequent users of the systems its development and engineering teams utilized.

By better managing and sharing product-related data upstream and downstream, Whirlpool Corporation hoped to improve productivity, speed time to market, and eliminate cause for supply chain disruption and brand reputation challenges.


Solution: Advancing its technology agenda

Whirlpool Corporation is working with PTC to advance its technology agenda through a strong partnership and tools that enable the manufacturer to tie all areas of the company together. With Windchill PLM as the foundation, Whirlpool Corporation gains a single source of truth for product data and is able to implement best practices for CAD management, BOM management, requirements management, and systems modeling. This foundation lays the groundwork for the manufacturer to further extend its technology innovation around augmented reality, virtual reality, and connected products.

Windchill enables a collaborative environment cross-functionally and cross-regionally within Whirlpool Corporation. The company can connect information from its appliances to the ThingWorx platform and feed that information back into the PLM environment for a closed-loop system. By creating a feedback loop of information, designers are empowered to build and modify products that better satisfy consumer needs.

ThingWorx Navigate provides user-friendly, role-based access to this information so the right person—even non-frequent users of Windchill or SAP—gets the right information at the right time.

The digital thread and digital twin make it possible to more easily and quickly make data-driven decisions. And by extrapolating the digital twin into the augmented reality space, the company can provide data to the service industry in new ways while offering its consumers ways to experience products virtually in their own home.


Implementation: Building and connecting the digital thread foundation

Whirlpool Corporation sought to first establish its digital thread foundation with lifecycle, process, and configuration management along with systems engineering. With this strong central product development platform in place, it could begin to leverage data from smart, connected devices while incorporating augmented reality into its design review and visualization processes.

Lifecycle and Configuration Management
Accelerating Innovation by Enabling a Model-Based Enterprise
Maintaining a Competitive Edge with Enterprise PLM and Connected Devices
By using PLM as the centralized data source Whirlpool Corporation is able to drive efficiencies in BOM management, requirements management, BOM transformation (EBOM, MBOM, SBOM), and testing and validation.
To keep pace with the speed of innovation in the market, Whirlpool Corporation is transitioning from a document-based approach to a model-based enterprise. This ensures all stakeholders are calling upon the same data.
With ThingWorx Navigate and digital twin technology, employees, no matter their role, can access product data and product usage information from connected products to make more informed decisions that better satisfy customer demands.