Inside Logistics

GE Appliances opens US$55 million smart DC

Distribution network can now deliver to 90 percent of the U.S. in one day


June 18, 2019
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GE Appliances staff cut the ribbon to open the new DC in Georgia on June 17, 2019.

COMMERCE, Georgia – GE Appliances (GEA) has opened a new US$55 million Area Distribution Center (ADC) in Commerce, Ga. This smart warehouse is the newest addition to the company’s $150 million national investment to expand its distribution network.

The latest investment in Jackson County gives GEA’s expanded distribution network the ability to deliver in one day to 90 percent of the U.S.

“GEA has the leading distribution network in the appliance industry, and we’re applying the best in smart technology to take a quantum leap forward on our journey to serve customers better,” said Mark Shirkness, vice-president of distribution for GE Appliances.

“Today’s consumer researches, shops and buys across various channels—from physical stores to online stores. 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.”

The Southeast Region Appliance Distribution Center is the first GEA warehouse to blend digital intelligence with agility to manage and deliver large products with world-class service and cost. At the opening of the facility, the company unveiled several distribution innovations, including:

  • Digital thread accelerates responsiveness – Using big data technology, GEA’s smart distribution system can analyze billions of rows of data to solve for the most efficient shipping solution. Each appliance will be part of this new digital thread that, in real time, tracks where the appliance is going, the customer who ordered it, when it is scheduled to arrive and what happens to it along the way to the customer—all while reducing inventory.
  • Smart basiloids ensure quality – Inspired by technology advances in the automotive industry, GEA’s distribution team worked with partners to design advanced handling equipment with sensor technology, variable-speed controls, navigation lights and cameras to enable operators to move products more efficiently and reduce damage.
  • Building design ramps up efficiency – The Southeast Region Appliance Distribution Center is designed to keep products flowing with a goal of moving each appliance only once. Symmetrical warehousing techniques reduce product handling by 50 percent.
  • Smart Yard and Control Tower GEA’s newly launched Smart Yard utilizes GPS, long-range RFID and cloud-based technologies to provide real-time visibility of assets or trailers. With this technology, the Control Tower team can track and trace shipments in real time from anywhere in the world and quickly identify and solve issues.
  • Virtual reality (VR) speeds training – This technology-based, interactive training immerses the operator in a computer-generated environment that closely resembles the job. VR technology cuts training time in half for new operators.

GE Appliances makes more large, bulk appliance deliveries than any other company in the United States. The company opened expanded warehouses in Dallas in June 2018 and in Denver in February 2019. The Commerce smart warehouse is its largest single distribution investment to date and represents the future of all warehouses in GEA’s network.

With its 12 ADCs and 170 local delivery locations, GE Appliances delivers and installs an appliance every four seconds. GE Appliances’ legacy of innovation includes the first appliance delivery app, a patented e-commerce platform, full distribution services for many national retailers and builders, and the ability to deliver in one day to 90 percent of the U.S.

In 2018, GE Appliances announced its intent to become the leading appliance manufacturer in the U.S., and since then has announced a series of investments totaling more than $475 million in product, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, creating more than 1,000 new U.S. jobs.