Milwaukee Tool has announced plans to expand its USA-based operations in 3 Mississippi locations, involving an investment of $33.4 million and the creation over 660 new jobs over the next 4 years.
Press materials also remind of the 500 new jobs Milwaukee is bringing to Wisconsin, and their expansion efforts of their Brookfield headquarters.
Here is the press release:
Jackson, Miss. (Dec. 6, 2017) – Milwaukee Tool is expanding operations at three Mississippi locations, investing $33.4 million and creating 660 jobs. The expansions are planned for the company’s sites in Greenwood, Jackson and Olive Branch.
“Once again, Milwaukee Tool confirms its commitment to doing business in our state by growing its existing operations and providing hundreds of Mississippians with good, stable jobs. The state values the partnership we share with Milwaukee Tool and is thrilled to play a role in the industry leader’s continued growth,” Gov. Phil Bryant said.
Milwaukee Tool will create the additional jobs at all three of its Mississippi facilities over the next four years to accommodate cordless power tool manufacturing, accessory manufacturing and additional distribution capacity.
“Milwaukee Tool is dedicated to driving growth and creating new jobs in the United States,” said Milwaukee Tool Group President Steve Richman. “We currently employ over 3,500 people in the USA, more than 1,600 of which are in Mississippi. We are deeply committed to investing in our people as we continue to deliver disruptive innovation and the highest quality products for our users and distribution partners.”
The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building renovations and site improvements at Milwaukee Tool’s Jackson and Olive Branch locations. MDA is providing assistance for public infrastructure improvements at the Greenwood location. The city of Greenwood is receiving a loan through MDA for the purchase of an existing building and parking lot improvements.
“This is Milwaukee Tool’s fourth expansion in Mississippi since 2012,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “The company’s success demonstrates the state’s commitment to supporting our corporate partners through dedicated teamwork and providing a business environment that enables companies to achieve their goals in Mississippi.”
One part in particular caught my attention:
Milwaukee Tool will create the additional jobs at all three of its Mississippi facilities over the next four years to accommodate cordless power tool manufacturing, accessory manufacturing and additional distribution capacity.
At the top of my head, I can only name one Milwaukee power tool that’s currently made or built in the USA, and that’s their corded Sawzall saw. Saws? Cordless power tool manufacturing? That’s certainly a welcome development.
My guess is that they will focus on a few select SKUs, with the possibility to further expand domestic tool manufacturing in the future.
There are a number of Milwaukee power tool accessories already manufactured in the USA, such as hole saws, Sawzall blades, and step drill bits. It’s unclear if the announced expansion will be to increase production volume, or to broaden the variety of accessories made here.
I’ll be following this story with great interest. In the meantime, what questions are on your mind? Me? I’m wondering what tools we can hope to decorated with new “built in USA” labeling, and when we’ll start to see them.
Tool Brand Factory Tours
Since it’s related, here are some “how it’s made” type of factory tour coverage:
Milwaukee Sawzall Blades
Milwaukee Hole Saws
Milwaukee Carbide-Toothed Sawzall Blades
And this, folks, is what happens when we get a good president! #MAGA
How much did Mississippi give as tax breaks for those 600 jobs? Trump had zero to do with this its all economics labor in China isn’t as cheap as it once was when you factor in shipping costs.
If you think the current President’s policies of de-regulation, tax reform, growth, and general pro-business, pro-America policies aren’t having an effect on businesses choosing to invest more in this country, with all due respect, you’re kidding yourself. I never understand that argument; so what if they were given tax breaks? I am all for states competing with each other to lure business to them. That’s the free market. This is why Texas has done so well, hundreds of businesses have relocated there. Those tax breaks put Americans to work, and it spurs growth in that city. That creates restaurants, service jobs, stores, etc etc. I would much rather those dollars here than in another country. I purposely don’t buy Milwaukee tools (except for their Sawzall blades) because they aren’t made here. I applaud this move, and may start now.
There is zero evidence to suggest that the current US president or his administration had ANY hand in Milwaukee’s current US expansion plans, any more than the previous US president or administration had ANY hand in Milwaukee Tool’s domestic expansion and production efforts that came prior to 2017.
This is the last warning I’m going to make: NO POLITICS. There’s simply no justification for it, or the heated arguments and personal attacks political discussions are always sure to bring.
As of now, there are zero facts available, in regard to any potential federal involvement here. All the evidence points towards this being a continuation of the types of efforts Milwaukee Tool has shown themselves willing to make in the past, and possibly a competitive move to counter Dewalt’s current and planned domestic tool production operations.
Easy goes it Stuart. I get not wanting political arguments here.
But common sense does dictate. It is great to be alive and to be in Tennessee!
Common sense is the problem. It leads people to share opinions and unsubstantiated beliefs and call them facts.
I have been following the tool industry for 9 years now.
There’s no evidence of federal political involvement or influence here, not any more than when Obama was president during Milwaukee Tool’s previous expansion efforts, or their purchase and investment on Empire Level, a mainly USA-based manufacturer.
My common sense says it’s inappropriate for some people to credit all this to an administration that doesn’t deserve any more credit than the previous one.
That’s why there’s no room for politics here. Because arguments will pop up for and against different standpoints, born from personal opinions and beliefs, and nobody will listen to the objective observer whose job it has been to examine and analyze the tool industry.
Just be happy about the news, or critical, and stop trying to assign political meaning to it.
I know that some of you want to duke it out with your political views, but this isn’t the place.
And if you try to drag me into it, I’ll shut it all down, but not before telling EVERYONE that they are all wrong. =)
The fact is, there simply aren’t any facts that support or confirm federal influence. So anyone can be right or wrong, but there’s no evidence to support these stances. If any side is right or wrong, it’s going to be sheer luck.
Thank You Stuart.
Perfect response. In this divisive environment, let’s be united in our love of tools and rise above politics, show respect for each other. We are friends and neighbors, not internet strangers.
Stuart, please delete the political replies as they pop up and prevent those posters from replying again.
It’s hard to delete just a few comments without really screwing up the order of the threaded replies.
I haven’t seen anything political after my second warning.
It’d be good if the original political post was just deleted and the replies with it.
I think the various corporations are also scared of the possibility of a trade war with China. Bottom line is that China is about the only arrow in our quiver when it comes to pressuring North Korea and the way to put pressure on China is through threats of sanctions.
Ah not quite..the atmosphere created by trump and his commitment to helping companies stay in the USA has Everything to do with it. All you have to do is look back over the last 8years and see the difference he is making….
Yeah. This was likely in the works well before the doofus was elected.
This is thanks to Milwaukee Tool’s President, Steven Richman, others at Milwaukee Tool, and perhaps the states they’ve been working with.
Milwaukee Tool has been growing and expanding their USA operations for years now.
Keep politics out of the discussion. That goes for everyone, please.
Where is the connection?
Yes! Xi Jinping for re-election!
Looking forward to seeing what they will actually build at these locations.
It’s unlikely that any existing SKUs will move to USA production – rather, they’ll get new ones better suited to onshored manufacturing.
If you look at teardowns of SBD products that are assembled in the USA versus those made overseas, there’s a giant difference in how they’re designed and put together – the USA made ones are serviceable and modular, nearly lego tools, while the overseas ones involve labor intensive soldering and gluing to a much larger extent.
Those US jobs will be replacing a larger number of overseas employees – just the way of US manufacturing now, with fewer people and more automation making higher quality products. And as technology becomes cheaper, more things will be made in the US, yet with far fewer manufacturing employees than before they offshored it the first time.
Of course, still a good thing, but 30 years ago you would add 5,000 employees, where today you add 500. Just food for thought.
I largely agree, but I would still MUCH rather have those 500 jobs than none of them. Hopefully, products made in the MS plants will be sold overseas as well as in the US, helping our trade imbalance.
Have many old Milwaukee tools that were made in Brookfield. Use them regularly without worry. Glad to see they’re bring some jobs back stateside
Hole Hawgs never seem to die. But they do weigh a literal ton. Even without a battery. ;-)~
Any job in Mississippi is a good job. It’s a non union state, the poorest state, and a company like Milwaukee would fit nicely in there.
Yeah. That “poorest” state label might be the issue. Decent non union jobs but mandatory company training. Everything’s a trade off.
Good for Milwaukee either way.
Being a non-union state makes most every job a terrible job, especially those in factory line labor. The Nissan plant in Canton, MS is a great example of how bad stuff gets. The workers aren’t fully educated and trained or given what they need to do their jobs, the quality of the finished product suffers, and you just get unhappy people in miserable jobs producing stuff with issues.
i think milwaukee saw a chink in its armor.
dewalt has done very well with it’s push to have more made and or assembled in usa products. i wonder if they bit into their sales a bit.
i agree, politics should stay out but to put your head in the sand and pretend that the current climate has no effect on these decisions is being pretty naive. pro usa mfg is good no matter what side of the aisle you are on.
I wonder how much of this is based on SBD’s commitment to more USA built tools?
The following is not an attack on the USA, nor is it an attack on the desire for those of you that are residents of the USA to keep/increase more locally manufactured goods in your country. It is merely an observation. Personally, I would love to see more manufacturing kept in Australia, where I live. But it is just not going to happen.
There are over 7 billion people on this planet in varying stages of economic growth and poverty and when ever there is an opportunity for manufacturers to reduce costs, they will take it every time. Cutting overheads reduces the price of the end product and as consumers, it is human nature to spend the least possible to purchase the best possible product.
I ask? Would you really pay 2-3 times the price for the tools that you currently own? Because if it were not for global manufacturing, this is exactly what would happen . Is it right? Is it fair? Probably not, as those that are actually building these tools live below a comfort level that a lot of us would not be prepared to live with.
Again, just my opinion, but if we get the tools we want/need that are decent quality and at a fair price and some one else makes a living from it, or another less fortunate country benefits? I see it as being reasonable if not ideal.
We have seen the rise of Japan as a global manufacturer, as we have seen South Korea rise. Now we have China as a global mega giant. India is next. And when manufacturing costs in these countries become too high…. Guess what? The offshore manufacturing will go to the next poor country so overheads can be again reduced.
My guess is down the track, when overheads become too high in aforesaid countries, that, mass manufacturing will move to the poorer African and South American countries. And I mean absolutely no offence to those countries, it is simply the nature of economics.
Rather than whine, enjoy what you have.
2 reasons why manufacturers continually make cheaper and cheaper products……
1 to bring the cost down to sell their products
2 to bring profit margins up
They’re not always looking out for the consumer
As long as I have the opportunity to invest in companies that are driving up profits, it’s a win either way. Manufacturing is a developing nation’s game. Jobs are great, but publicly traded companies being successful is more important to me.
Manufacturing is far from a developing nation’s game. Germany, Brazil, Russia, Japan all come to mind. Low-cost labor and exploitative evironmental practices due to lacking regulation are a developing nation’s game.
Profits over people and ignoring social obligations is bad business in the long-run. Longevity does not come from a 10% bump every fiscal year, companies eventually cannibalize their own ethos and labor base to squeeze that extra %… leads to the quagmire we have today.
Have to disagree with you. Many years ago I worked for a small U.S. based tool company that couldn’t survive. Cheaper and inferior knock-offs of their products coming from China made staying in business impossible financially.
People vote with their wallets. When people only want the lowest price, there’s a hidden cost. When your friends and neighbors are losing their jobs and the value of your house declines, there’s a good chance it has to do with jobs moving offshore.
I gladly pay more for items made in the U.S., provided they are what I need and of good quality. Consumers drive the move to foreign labor far more than companies do.
As Pogo said “we have met the enemy and he is us.” Harbor Freight, as an example, would not be opening more stores if Americans did not want cheap tools. Wal-Mart would not be as large as it is if we were not so obsessed with low price. I seldom shop at either – but I’m not the target audience for most retailers anyway. In my neck of the woods – foreign investors have actually driven house prices back up to near or even above record highs as they “shop for bargains” and still view some of the US real estate market as a good place to invest. High property taxes and changes in the tax code may put an end to that – but maybe not. The continuing move of manufacturing jobs offshore is indeed disruptive – especially if they can only be replaced by work at the local burger joint. Its slim consolation if you are caught in the middle right now, but long-term I have confidence that we will adjust – shifting what we do and how we do it. Ten years ago Stuart might have been concerned about whether blogging would be a way to earn a decent living. 50 years ago – in the heyday of American manufacturing – nobody knew what blogging was.
I wounder if we will start seeing Milwaukee tools with the “Made in USA with global materials” branding. This seems like a good move on their part, I wounder how much market share Dewalt was able to gain from that branding.
Milwaukee entered the cordless tool market late in the game. Ryobi, Rigid, Dewalt all have strong name recognition. Dewalt cordless tools are a long time favorite of pros because of their long life battery technology. Good luck to them.
Milwaukee literally owns the pattent on lithium batteries for power tools. They have been a part of the cordless powertool game for decades.
No they don’t makita had lithium batteries way before them milwaukee copies they aren’t innovators
Milwaukee owns the patent. That’s why snap on list a lawsuit to Milwaukee not Makita.
Per this article from 2009, Milwaukee introduced lithium ion tools in 2005.
What world do you live in Chow, Milwaukee was first to market with Lithiums in 2005 and had NiCads before that. Then everyone must be behind B&D because they had the first cordless tools in the 60s…..
Interesting set of comments and discussion.
Like Stuart – I would hope that ToolGuyd does not become a platform for partisan or any other type of politics.
I think that I agree with comments that suggest that this TTI- Milwaukee move may be more about competing with their rival SBD-Dewalt than any altruistic (towards the USA job market anyway) motivations.
jec6613 makes some interesting points about tool design and assembly and how labor intensive jobs tend to gravitate to low-labor cost locales. At one time NY City was such a locale for the garment trade. That has long past – and companies now look for low cost production in places like India, Vietnam and Haiti. To a lesser extent there are certainly differences in cost of living and its labor-cost component within the US. No one would now suggest that NY City is a low cost locale – but Mississippi and other states might be less expensive and places to conduct some business.
One thing that I’ve observed about some cordless power tools is that they seem to be less serviceable than their long-past corded tool predecessors. We had been told more and more that cordless tools that had failed were not economically repairable. Maybe that’s because of the way they were assembled (the labor intensive soldering that jec6613 talks about).
To Glenn’s points – I can recall a time when we paid much more for power tools (in terms of dollars adjusted for inflation). Some of that was because we had fewer buying choices and price shopping was more difficult. The Internet and the global economy has changed all that (for better and worse too). I think that there is still money to be made on tool production done in higher-cost labor locations – it just may not be good for mass-market power tools. I’m thinking about companies like Veritas in Canada, Lie Nielsen in the USA, and Arbortech in Australia that seem to have carved out niches.
Tool of the trade
The worst part about this pledge is that there should be no need to pledge or promise more USA jobs by a company that was founded in the USA. But they haven’t had steady ownership since 1975 and haven’t been American owned since 1995. The fact that they are owned by a Chinese company really doesn’t do much for the pledge. Politicians make pledges all the time and rarely deliver. How many more jobs are there in China compared to the present and future jobs here? Is it gonna be like Dewalt to where the majority of the tools parts are imported from China (global materials) and assembled here(made in USA with global materials)? It’s great that they are creating new jobs, but it’s not that impressive. A lot more people lost American jobs when they sold out for China. It’s kind of pathetic that they’re trying to save face 15 years later for turning their backs on American workers who made them who they are. It should have never taken place to begin with.
From what I had read along the way, Milwaukee was struggling to stay afloat. Merrill Lynch owning them in the 1980’s probably did not help – as I suspect they were just in it to see if they could milk the cow. If TTI or someone else with a vision had not bought them from Atlas Copco – I suspect that we would not be talking about any Milwaukee company jobs anywhere. TTI – a publicly traded company out of Hong Kong – may well have saved the brand, envisioning it as a flagship tool maker ahead of its AEG/Ridgid and Ryobi branded tools.
It’s a step in the right direction…and obviously in one of the least expensive areas of the country with high tax breaks.
The Law of Supply and Demand creates the “problem” you describe. Milwaukee originally would not have sold itself to anyone if they were making money.
The Walmart’s and Home Depot’s of our world want the best prices. Best margins. And no real concern for where the mercy actually comes from. That’s not their interest.
So the fact the DeWalt and a few others have stayed mostly in the US is to their credit in the face of profit pressuring by their biggest vendors.
So good for Milwaukee and the guy who lives in China (but not in fact Chinese) that ultimately runs it.
And I’ve personally (finally?) bought into both 12v and 18v Red this past month for all their latest innovative and updated tools.
And that’s what keeps everyone on their toes. In any business. iPhone X anyone?
Not “mercy”! “Merchandise”… dang iPhone spellcheck.
Though mercy is kinda funny.
This is great news, and as others said I hope we can easily identify which tools are made in the U.S. I suspect it’s going to be more hand tools than power, but that’s just a guess. Assembly and electronics are not competitive in the U.S.
You say they’re not competitive, but the QC absolutely is. That’s something that SBD learned quickly with DeWalt: USA made tools have lower return and defect rates and therefore more loyal customers and lower warranty claims. Even when every component is made overseas, the last mile QC testing that occurs at a USA plant, as well as the shortened response time for problems to get reported to the managers who can change production lines, helps the brand image tremendously
This is important mostly with their most loyal and profitable customers. (hint: a DeWalt doesn’t cost twice what a B&D costs to produce, yet costs more than twice as much to purchase).
Don’t disagree. However… people generally go for least expensive tool. We want U.S. jobs to stay, but many people (most?) won’t pay more for U.S. made products. The answer for me (try to buy U.S. made where I can) is not the right answer for everybody.
I agree, and that’s why most people don’t buy Milwaukee or DeWalt, they buy Ryobi or Black+Decker. 🙂
Both TTI and SBD pretty much have a product for every price/quality point.
There are plenty of great tool companies in America. Buy USA made products for the majority and use other companies as fill in tools.and in other areas…or someday you won’t have the choice of American made or China made…..keeping America strong is very important for our own safety……Milwaukee makes some great tools ,I’m a Dewalt guy and I like that they at least are trying to keep more jobs here…so I hope Milwaukee will do the same…it’s at least a good start….
I like Milwaukee tools even though one did fail on me in the middle of a job, I would always buy made in the usa before any thing else even It cost more. I love my country and am willing to pay for it…….
What a great time to be a consumer of cordless power tools. We have never had better choices than we have now. The current innovation in power tools is amazing and we are the benefactors. Whether we like yellow or red or blue we are winning as consumers. Thanks to Stuart for curating and reviewing these products, so we can make informed choices.
Tool of the trade
The worst part about this whole thing is that for some reason the idea that things made in America all of a sudden costs more. Not so long ago everything that Americans bought in America was made in America. Everything. And nobody had a problem paying for it. There was no bitching and moaning that it costs more or too much. Cost more than what?
The idea of selling out for foreign labor didn’t exist and nobody wanted or demanded inferior foreign made products. The American made companies are in some ways worse than the ones who sold out because they think they are entitled to charge more only because they manufacture %100 USA made products and they know that there’s little to no competition therefore they can gouge the price to whatever they see fit. E.g. Klein tools & snap on to name a few. Now me personally, I don’t care for Milwaukee tools. But I do care about creating American jobs that help contribute to the American economy. It would be great if they pledged to to bring the company back to America and to get the hell out of China and no longer under the control of a Chinese conglomerate like TTI. That would create some jobs.
Reply to T of the T….
Do you doubt that manufacturing and assembly are more expensive in the U.S.? I don’t see how products could not cost more here. Almost everything is more expensive here (labor costs, insurance, taxes, regulations, property or rent, and on and on). Gouging generally isn’t a issue – the market takes care of it. If you over-charge for products people move on.
Consider this: you have an object – a power drill, watch, car – whatever – that is worth $x. Why would you sell it for less? If you can get $10K for your car, why would you sell it for $8K? If a tool company can get $50 for a screwdriver, there’s no reason to charge less for it assuming sales are good and they can meet the demand for them.
Prices are almost entirely determined by the behavior of consumers, not producers. (FYI, I work for a large U.S. based manufacturing company. We sell hundreds of products across the range of $20 to $20,000.)
Mississippi will give them a big tax break for employing a handful of people at likely no more than $15 an hour. It’s just what we do unfortunately. I’ve seen it locally, a company comes into town gets huge tax/land savings and then shuts down a couple years later because of labor costs.
You can’t get skilled labor at burger flipper rates, though the world seems to think Mississippians will work for nothing. Half of our state is on assistance of some type, they come out better on assistance than working.
One of the larger issues is the areas of Mississippi these companies target, the areas with higher minority populations. Thinking they’ll get skilled labor at cheap rates, it’s not going to happen. Because there isn’t any skilled labor there to begin with and they won’t pay enough to bring in skilled labor from other areas of the state.
As far as Milwaukee “USA” tools go, yes I’d like to see more.
Do some research because some of what you are saying isn’t true. Look at this 60 Minutes News video on what going on https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-mississippi-factory-jobs-joe-max-higgins/
While he is bringing in some jobs, I would venture to say a large percentage of the higher paying skilled positions are filled with persons outside of Mississippi. I keep a pretty good eye on manufacturing in this state.
If you want to look at who is bringing jobs back to Mississippi look at this 60 minute video about Joe Max Higgins https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-mississippi-factory-jobs-joe-max-higgins/
Tool of the trade
No offense to Alan or the state of Mississippi, but why would Milwaukee choose a state that has more than half of the population on some type of assistance? I highly doubt that Milwaukee did any research as to what the percentage of the population is for skilled workers and unskilled workers and what the employment rate is in a manufacturing environment. I agree with Alan in that they’ll pick a town with low employment rates and very little skilled worker rates and offer low wages. Which in turn will have a high turnover rate because skilled workers won’t be attracted to the low wage rate and Milwaukee will have some lame excuse to why they couldn’t provide American jobs. And more than likely the skilled positions have already been filled which reduces the number of people in the state of Mississippi with a gainful employment opportunity to work. Reply to David – Why does it matter if things cost more to make in America? The taxes, insurance, quality control, etc is a part of doing business here. That’s what keeps our economy alive and flourishing isn’t it? It was never an issue until our government got in bed with China and alerted all the owners of big business that they can have their products made overseas without having to pay for taxes, insurance, quality control, etc. And all of a sudden competitive prices are no longer available because the competition sold out. Therefore they use the made in America slogan to not only inflate their prices but to make it an excuse to do so. That $50 screwdriver didn’t cost but $27 when there were a hundred other companies making that same made in America screwdriver and selling it at competitive prices. And the brand name didn’t carry much weight. The market doesn’t make the price. The company sets the price and if the market bites they go up or down from there. If it ain’t selling cuz it costs too much, then they lower the price. If nobody bites on the lower price, they discontinue.
It doesn’t matter if things cost more to make in the U.S. I just re-read your initial post and think I misread it the first time. I thought you were making the point that things cost more in the U.S. I get now that you’re questioning why people are surprised by it. I get it, and agree.
Apologies for the misunderstanding.
Having read both of your comments, tool of the trade, I question the same thing. At one time everyone (figuratively speaking) had a decent paying job (manufacturing or otherwise) and everyone could afford the products, just look at the boom in home power tools that started some time after WW2. I have made it my goal to only buy USA (or 1st world country) products. I sincerely look forward to when the rest of the world catches up and fair trade can prosper.
You make it sound like they committed millions of dollars towards this expansion without doing any kind of research.
Nissan made the same mistake, built a factory where they thought they could get cheap labor. Turned out that the labor is cheap and not so good. I’ve heard many horror stories about the Nissan plant and its “issues”. You have to live here to see the problems with the areas they target for labor. These companies are targeting a specific demographic. But I do wish Milwaukee all the best. Hopefully one day manufacturers will target areas of our state that can provide what they need.
Mercedes and BMW both had issues when they opened factories in the southern US. It took about 10yrs for them to straighten out quality issues. Alot of it had to do with cost-cutting training and wage structure. They eventually figured out the training and restructured compensation.
Sorry, I have locked the comments section, preventing new responses.
Luckily, this is the first time in 9 years that I’ve had to lock a post’s comments section because a discussion spiraled into political territory.
I’ve received several complaints via email, and am ending the discussion before things become uncivil.