Master Lock to host president--will discuss American manufacturing

President Obama to visit Master Lock to discuss American manufacturing and the importance of insourcing in America.

Milwaukee—The White House announced that President Obama will travel to Master Lock in Milwaukee, Wis., on Wednesday, Feb.15 to discuss the economy, American manufacturing and the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America. The visit comes on the heels of Master Lock being featured in the president’s recent State of the Union address for moving jobs back to the U.S. from China.

“We are honored to have the president visit Master Lock and to continue to recognize the company’s efforts to bring back jobs from China to our Milwaukee factory,” said Master Lock Co. president and chief executive officer John Heppner, who participated in the January “Insourcing American Jobs” forum at the White House. “As an American manufacturing company in business for approximately 90 years, we are proud to participate in the trend of ‘insourcing’ jobs back to the U.S.”

Since mid-2010, Master Lock has brought back approximately 100 union jobs to its Milwaukee factory. The decision to bring these jobs back was partially motivated by economic reasons related to increasingly higher labor and logistics costs in Asia, and further, ongoing labor availability challenges especially in the coastal areas of China. Advantages of moving the jobs to Milwaukee include a more competitive overall cost structure, greater control and the ability to provide better service to customers – in addition to the overall economic benefit to the company’s home state of Wisconsin. According to Heppner, Master Lock would like to bring more jobs back from overseas should the underlying economics support the move.

During the January “Insourcing American Jobs” forum at the White House, Heppner stressed two key challenges that he recommends government and business officials address to continue the insourcing of jobs:

1. Improve access to skilled labor in North America. “The number of young people exposed to skilled labor trades through education or family and friends is declining while our current skilled labor workforce is aging,” Heppner said. “At Master Lock, we partner with trade schools and other educational institutions to help inspire young workers to choose careers in skilled labor. We encourage our government and other businesses to engage with these organizations and invest in training future generations in skilled labor careers.”

Master Lock has established partnerships with local technical colleges and universities to help them improve their recruiting and curriculum development to encourage students to train for skilled labor jobs.

2. Innovate the supply chain structure in North America. “Leveraging our expertise in automation and lean manufacturing principles, we will continue to explore opportunities to improve efficiencies and productivity, resulting in additional skilled labor jobs in the future,” Heppner said.

“We are happy that the issue of manufacturing and insourcing continues to be a priority for President Obama,” Heppner said. “We support meaningful dialogue on this important topic and look forward to continued work with the government, educational institutions and fellow businesses to help improve the climate for manufacturing in the U.S.”

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