Obama praises Master Lock for bringing jobs back to US

President Barack Obama on Wednesday paid a visit to Master Lock's manufacturing plant in Milwaukee, Wis., to tour the factory and discuss the importance of insourcing jobs.

Master Lock, which is the world's largest manufacturer of padlocks, was recently recognized by the president in his State of the Union address for bringing jobs back to the country from overseas. On Wednesday, the president praised the company again for "making the most of a huge opportunity" and cited the company as "a proud example of what can happen when unions and employers work together to create good jobs."

"For nearly a century, Master Lock has been recognized as a leader, innovator and a supporter of the Milwaukee community. The President Obama visit emphasized Master Lock’s dedication to working within the community and growing its local workforce," said Nancy Brokamp, publisher of Locksmith Ledger magazine. "Insourcing, bringing jobs back to the United States, was President Obama’s emphasis and connected with Master Lock CEO John Heppner’s direction when he said to his employees earlier, 'we trust each other – we brought this company back.' Master lock has a lot to be proud of and this recognition should just be a beginning."

Since mid-2010, Master Lock has brought back 100 union jobs to its Milwaukee facility. The company attributes the move partially to economic reasons related to increasing labor and logistics costs in Asia. However, by bringing these jobs back to the U.S., Master Lock said that they now have a more competitive overall cost structure, greater control and the ability to provide greater customer service.

"It was an honor to host President Obama in Milwaukee today and to give him a first-hand look at the jobs that Master Lock has returned to the U.S.," said Heppner. "As an American manufacturing company, we are proud of our efforts to insource jobs and look forward to further helping improve the climate for U.S. manufacturing through continued dialogue with the government, educational institutions and fellow businesses."

Heppner, who also participated in the January "Insourcing American Jobs" forum at the White House, stressed two key challenges that he recommends government and business officials address to continue the insourcing of jobs which include improving access to skilled labor in North America and innovation in the supply chain structure.

"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. "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."