The Benefits of Data Warehousing at Whirlpool
Barbara J. Haley (University of Virginia, USA), Hugh J. Watson (University of Georgia, USA) and Dale L. Goodhue (University of Georgia, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
In today’s competitive, high-velocity business environment, companies are focusing their attention on several key areas, including: • Incremental continuous quality improvement; • More radical redesign of business processes; • Supply chain management; • Improved customer orientation; and • Globalization of business operations. At Whirlpool, data warehousing is providing important support in all of these critical areas (see Table 1). To illustrate, Whirlpool’s data warehouse enables quality engineers to easily track the performance of component parts. This allows the engineers to assess new components that are being field tested, to quickly detect problems with particular parts, and to identify the high and low quality suppliers. From a different perspective, suppliers can check on the performance of the parts they supply and, consequently, can manage proactively the quality provided to Whirlpool. Purchasing managers have parts information from around the world so that they can find the lowest-cost, highest quality part available on a global basis. This case study briefly describes Whirlpool, the business need that suggested a data warehouse, the approval process, and the data warehouse that was built. It describes how the data warehouse is accessed, how users are trained and supported, and the major applications and benefits. The lessons learned also are described to benefit those companies that are implementing or thinking about implementing data warehousing. Like most companies, Whirlpool is continually changing. This case study describes Whirlpool and its data warehousing initiative through the end of 1997.