Boss of white goods maker Whirlpool in Peterborough says focus on growth after tough times

The boss of one of the largest employers in Peterborough has told how the company is now focused on growth after a series of challenges during some tough times.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 9:22 am
Andrzej Tuleja, managing director of Whirlpool Appliances UK.
Andrzej Tuleja, managing director of Whirlpool Appliances UK.

Andrzej Tuleja, managing director of white goods manufacturer Whirlpool Appliances UK, of Morley Way, where it employs 1,200 staff, says a raft of measures have been put in place to tackle the fall out from the Covid-19 health crisis and its resulting supply chain blockages and staff shortages.

His comments comes after Whirlpool enjoyed double award success at this year’s Peterborough Telegraph Business Excellence Awards - walking away with the Employer of the Year and the Large Company of the Year titles.

He says the awards triumph came as the company began to move into positive territory in the immense task of recalling many thousands of faulty washing machines because of a fire danger.

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The Whirlpool premises in Peterborough.

The Hotpoint and Indesit machines were made between October 2014 and February 2018.

Mr Tuleja said: “Winning the two awards was absoutely phenomenal.

“It sounds a loud message about the company - to get these awards now, at a moment when we have done the right thing with our recall campaign and when we are refocused on growth and adding value.

He added: “We spent a lot of resources and effort making sure we did the right thing for our consumers and we worked closely with regulators.”

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and now new concerns over the rise of the Omicron variant have not been allowed to unsettle the company.

Mr Tuleja said: “Right from the start, and before Government restrictions, we were getting people to work from home and to wear masks.

“People entering our premises are temperature checked and asked to wear masks, meetings should not exceed five people, travel is limited and we ensure staff are tested when they need to.

“We have spent £2 million on PPE and have never withdrawn our requirement for masks to be worn.

“Of course people are concerned. But we have gone above and beyond what we are expected to do and have tested tools, practises and behaviours to cope.”

A perhaps unexpected consequence of the pandemic is that with so many people staying at home, the demand for appliances has risen - yet supply chain issues resulting from Covid and Brexit from shipping containers in the wrong part of the world to a shortage of labour makes satisfying that demand a challenge.

Mr Tuleja said: “I think these issues will continue into next year.

“The market is robust. People still want to upgrade their homes and replace their appliances. Demand maybe higher than pre-Covid.

“Delivery times for orders are slightly longer. But it is a shortage of drivers that will hamper the industry.”

With that in mind, Whirlpool has embarked on a recruitment drive for 60 service engineers and 40 delivery drivers.

Anyone who would like more information about jobs vacancies should email [email protected]