Vendor News & Case Studies

President Obama visits Master Lock to discuss American Manufacturing and the importance of insourcing jobs

February 16, 2012
KEYWORDS jobs / lock / manufacturing / master
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Vendor NewsPresident Obama visited Master Lock’s Milwaukee manufacturing plant yesterday, where he received a tour of the facility and led a discussion on the economy, American manufacturing and the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America. The president has recognized Master Lock several times in recent months for moving jobs back to the United States from China.

During his remarks today, President Obama acknowledged Master Lock for “making the most of a huge opportunity” to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and cited the company as “a proud example of what can happen when unions and employers work together to create good jobs.” Since mid-2010, Master Lock has brought back approximately 100 union jobs to its Milwaukee factory. 

“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 John Heppner, Master Lock president and chief executive officer. “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.”

While at Master Lock, the president also noted that “these aren’t Democratic or Republican values. They’re American values. They’ve seen us through the most difficult challenges, and helped us emerge stronger than before.” His visit comes on the heels of Master Lock being recognized in his recent State of the Union address for its insourcing efforts. Heppner also participated in the January “Insourcing American Jobs” forum at the White House, where he 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.

Master Lock’s decision to bring jobs back to the U.S. 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.

About Master Lock

Master Lock is the world's largest manufacturer of padlocks and related security products providing innovative security solutions for home, automotive, campus, power sports, bike and storage security needs for consumers and contractors alike. Master Lock Company is an operating unit of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc.

Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. (NYSE: FBHS), headquartered in Deerfield, Ill., creates products and services that help fulfill the dreams of homeowners and help people feel more secure. The company's trusted brands and registered marks include Master Lock®, MasterBrand Cabinets™, Moen® faucets, Simonton Windows®  and Therma-Tru® entry door systems. FBHS holds market leadership positions in all of its segments. The company's 16,000 associates generated more than $3.3 billion in net sales in 2011. FBHS is part of the S&P MidCap 400 Index. For more information, please visit

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