Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sub-Zero in Scottsdale

Earlier this year, I was privileged to join a group of designers from the Southeast on a trip to tour Sub-Zero and Wolf’s Goodyear, Arizona manufacturing facility. It was a fantastic trip with some really wonderful people.  We enjoyed good food, many laughs and a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West while we were there. I thought I would share some of the things I learned about Sub-Zero and Wolf’s manufacturing process while I was there.

We drove out to the middle of nowhere. A very flat place with only large distribution facilities dotted around. At the Goodyear, Arizona plant, Sub-Zero only manufactures built in refrigeration.  We all donned our safety glasses and heard a brief history of this facility from the manager. They currently employ over 400 people and many of their employees have been with them a very long time. They treat their employees well and many second generations work here as well. It’s easy to work for a company that produces such a high quality product.

As we began our tour on the plant floor, we were shown how rolls of metal were made into the exterior box of the refrigerator. Some work is automated and some work is still done by hand. The precision required was amazing to see in person! We continued thru the plant, seeing each stage of production and watching a refrigerator take shape.  I love seeing products being made and all that goes into them! It really gives you an appreciation and validation for your investment.

Then we stepped into the testing room. Boy, was that impressive! Sub-Zero tests 100% of every product that they ship out. They say they are the only manufacturer in the world to do that. They have zero tolerance for flaws. And they scrap product every day. Scrap an $8000 refrigerator? You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s what I thought. But their business philosophy is that they are building an appliance to last for 20 years. They don’t want the client to experience any issues. If they can catch the problems in the manufacturing process thru thorough testing, it saves them and the clients a lot of headache and cost. Sub-Zero only allows 100% correct product to go out their door. This information was reassuring to me as a designer and someone who specifies product for clients. It makes it easy to recommend a product when you know the manufacturer is doing all they can to reduce your headaches and provide the client a truly quality product.

It truly was an enlightening and informative trip. The next time you have the chance to see a Sub-Zero or Wolf appliance, or maybe even use one in your own home, maybe you too will look at it differently. And see the quality, time and testing that went into such a great product. Do you have questions about these products? Email me at I’m always happy to answer questions or give you further information.

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