Overall, these changes happened between 2011 and 2014,
but the plant has continued to improve on them ever since. In
the process, Hendersonville quickly moved up GE’s factory
reputation scale into “Brilliant” status, a category reserved
for the company’s showcase facilities based on their level of
digital infrastructure. As of the end of 2017, Hendersonville
is one of nine GE Brilliant factories.
A Boost From LED
With all that operational and digital infrastructure in place
by 2014, Hendersonville was in prime position to receive
a consumer boost from the market shift to LED lighting.
In 2013, only 18 percent of the plant’s overall production
volume was for LED lamps, compared to 82 percent for
HID lamps. That LED portion rapidly grew to 48 percent in
2015; 74 percent in 2016; 83 percent in 2017; and 89 percent
through the first quarter of 2018.
Since 2014, GE has invested more than $40 million in
Hendersonville as LED sales ramped up — adding a new
production area for the manufacture of LED circuit boards.
Until then, those boards were outsourced to overseas
vendors, with some boards taking up to eight weeks to arrive
at Hendersonville. The plant’s new, high-tech equipment
instead is able to churn out those boards in 15 minutes or
less, ensuring that they end up in fixtures — and ultimately
with customers — much faster.
The Plant Today
The Hendersonville plant continues to invest in technology
and digital tools to increase its capabilities and efficiencies.
The plant is now onto MES 2.0, powered by GE Intelligent
Platforms, which utilizes performance analytics, product
line integration, lean tempo and genealogy to drive insights
and operational improvements. In 2017, two major Lean
projects resulted in significant productivity improvement.
One involved transforming the plant’s SMT Make to
Customer Order process, slashing its total inventory — of
Assembly line digital boards display production
status and customer information.
This LED circuit board facility was added to the Hendersonville plant in 2014 as part of a $40 million