Business Case Studies, Innovation and New Product Development Case Study, Whirlpool,Redefining Innovation

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Case Title:

Whirlpool: Redefining Innovation

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Swapna Gopalan

Industry: Home Appliances and Personal Care Products

Region:Global

Case Code: IPD0067B

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Abstract:
The year 2005 had proved to be a year of exceptional achievements for the world’s number one home appliance brand company, Whirlpool. It had achieved record net earnings of $422 million on record sales revenues of $14.3 billion, which had in turn, propelled the company’s share price to an all-time high of $92.64 by April 2006.

Much of Whirlpool's performance was attributed to the new products and features introduced by the company, based on ideas received from the company’s employees working under the ‘innovation system’, established by the company’s former CEO, David Whitwam in 1999. The innovation system was implemented to counter the company’s almost stagnant performance over the past decade, judging by everything from stock price to profit margin to market share. The company’s failure to introduce exciting products or product features had reduced Whirlpool’s machines to mere commodities and the prices of its most important products were falling each year.

Following the implemetation of the innovation drive, revenues from products that fitted the company's definition of ‘innovative’ increased from $10 million in 2001 to $800 million in 2005, i.e., 5 percent of the company's record $14.3 billion in total revenue. In 2005 alone, Whirlpool launched more than twice as many new products in half the time, as compared to the time before the innovation process was launched.

The case looks at the introduction of this successful innovation strategy.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand Whirlpool’s position in the home appliances market
  • Stagnation of innovation system at whirlpool
  • Implementation of the innovation drive at Whirlpool
  • Revival of Whirlpool through implementation of innovation strategy.

Keywords : Whirlpool; Innovation; ideas; home appliances; white goods; Innovation Management Case Study; David Whitman; Nancy Snyder; machines; innovative; Maytag; acquisition; strategies; metrics; knowledge management

Contents:

  • The Home Appliance Industry in the US
  • Whirlpool: The Numero Uno Player
  • The 'Innovative' Innovation Drive: Trials and Tribulations
  • Looking Ahead

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