Tailored Label employee Jason Clark prints labels at the company’s Menomonee Falls facility.

TLP Cited in BizTimes Article – Manufacturers Navigate Tightening Job Market

Waukesha County manufacturers navigate tightening job market

Business in Waukesha County
by June 12, 2017, 1:00 AM

Tailored Label employee Jason Clark prints labels at the company’s Menomonee Falls facility.

Tailored Label employee Jason Clark prints labels at the company’s Menomonee Falls facility.

If you looked only at the job figures, it would seem Waukesha County manufacturing was in a slump for much of 2016. The county’s manufacturing industry averaged a year-over-year decline in employment of more than 2.6 percent, even as private sector employment was up more than 1.5 percent on average.

The Waukesha County picture is an exaggerated version of trends visible at the state level, and more recent data suggests the industry has rebounded to begin adding jobs again. But asking why employment in an industry that makes up about 20 percent of the county’s jobs was down as much as 3 percent at one point draws a number of different answers.

For starters, manufacturing itself faced challenges last year, especially for companies in heavy industries or those tied to oil and gas. Many business leaders also point to the presidential election, suggesting uncertainty about the direction of policy leads people and companies to hold on to their money.

Don Lavrenz, president of Sussex-based control manufacturing and system integration firm The Industrial Companies Inc., said after several years of growth, his firm saw a decline last year, which he attributed to factors like the election, oil and gas weakness, and a strong dollar.

“I think it was just a culmination of circumstances that made the situation worse,” Lavrenz said.

Initial unemployment claims were up almost 2.7 percent across all industries in Waukesha County, but remained below 2014 levels. Statewide, initial claims were down 2.1 percent. There also were six mass layoff notices filed with the state totaling 571 jobs, up from three notices for 176 jobs in 2015.

Harley-Davidson Inc. and Quad/Graphics Inc., two major manufacturing employers in the county, both faced challenges from industry trends. But Harley’s Pilgrim Road plant was spared from a round of layoffs in August, and Quad’s consolidation efforts have generally brought work to Wisconsin. Quad chief executive officer Joel Quadracci has spoken often about the challenges of finding employees to fill open positions.

Lavrenz said despite the dip in sales, The Industrial Companies had its best year ever for new customer acquisition, which he said might be the result of companies struggling to find engineering staff.

An increasingly tight job market is also among the explanations for the dip in job numbers. Unemployment rates have been on a steady decline – Waukesha County was at 2.6 percent in April and has been below 4 percent since mid-2015 – and older workers are retiring, leaving companies complaining that it’s difficult to find workers. With a dwindling pool of talent available, many companies are instead turning to automation to grow their business and keep up with demand.

“The amount of automation that people are using now, compared to plant tours that I did 10 years ago, it’s just night and day,” said Tim Casey, director of economic development at the Waukesha County Center for Growth.

When the Waukesha County Business Alliance asked its Manufacturing Executive Council members for their insights, the response was that tough hiring conditions mean employment is flat or down, even as production and sales grow.

“Job growth figures aren’t always the most accurate measure of that (growth),” said Amanda Payne, vice president of public policy at WCBA. “Companies are investing in technology and finding ways to be more innovative using automation, because the labor market is so tight that there simply aren’t enough people.”

Jeri Meyers, senior regional vice president at Brookfield-based QPS Employment Group Inc., agreed the labor market is getting tighter. She said the most drastic change has been the increase in pay rates, particularly over the past year. In the past, companies looking to make themselves more attractive would increase hourly pay by a quarter per hour.

“Now what has happened is it’s jumping by a dollar,” Meyers said.

Waukesha County manufacturing wages, already some of the highest in the state, have averaged a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase since the start of 2015, compared to 0.9 percent statewide and 0.2 percent in Milwaukee County.

Meyers said QPS regularly charts where jobs are available and from where people are traveling to fill those jobs. The farther west a company is located, the harder it is to staff entry-level candidates, she said.

Finding employees may be one challenge, but keeping current employees is also increasingly important.

“Right now, it’s a candidate market where they could leave a job and find a job the next day,” she said.

Among other things, employee retention requires employers to greet employees at the start of a shift, know and use employee names, and hold cookouts or raffles for staff, Meyers said, adding it sometimes requires education to make clients understand what they have to do to retain staff.

“I’m sure there’s plenty of companies who never had meetings about how to keep people happy on the floor,” she said.

Even with higher wages and a focus on retention, some employers still find it tough to fill open positions, and Meyers agreed those companies are especially forced to turn to automation.

“People are automating in whatever instances they can,” Payne said, noting some have specialized processes that don’t lend themselves to automation, but companies will find portions of production where they can use more technology.

Brian Sprinkman, president and chief executive officer at Waukesha-based brewery tank and equipment maker W.M. Sprinkman Corp., said his company is researching automation options, but ideally wants to use a combination of technology and an increased workforce.

“Our business is growing at a pace faster than the rate at which we can find skilled manufacturing employees,” he said, noting stainless steel sanitary welding is a bit of a niche skill set. “We could afford to bring on several workers right now, if the right candidates presented themselves.”

Companies are increasingly finding they need to bring on people who lack the skills they’re looking for and use internal training to help them acquire the right skills.

“We’re more than happy to hire and train,” said Michael Graf, president of New Berlin-
based commercial printer Letterhead Press Inc.

Jeff Kerlin, president and chief executive officer at Menomonee Falls-based Tailored Label Products Inc., said his company uses that formula, looking for people who will be a cultural fit and then exposing them to a variety of job functions so both the employee and company get an idea of where the person will fit best.

“Not rocket science, but this process is actually working pretty well for us,” Kerlin said, adding openings are posted internally first and the company searches its organizational chart for opportunities to promote from within.

He said many new employees come to the company through a referral by a current employee. While the challenge of finding new employees hasn’t necessarily reduced the overall headcount at Tailored Label, Kerlin said it has delayed making desired additions.

“It continues to be a difficult proposition to grow our workforce, but that’s nothing new,” Graf said.

He said “a good share” of Letterhead’s growth over the past 15 years has come from automation.

“We’re always trying to automate more; we just have to,” Graf said.

Tailored Label has added more technology to be cost effective and offer new capabilities to customers, Kerlin said.

“As a side benefit, we’re finding that this new technology is very appealing to the younger employees,” he added, noting even those who would be considered “non-skilled” take to it “almost naturally.” “This new technology often requires far less operator ‘finesse’ than the former analog technology that takes an operator years to become fully proficient with.”

Automation and new technology don’t always mean lost jobs. Meyers said many clients find they’re able to take on more business when they automate and headcounts stay the same.

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(TLP) is a custom manufacturer of high-performance labels, tags, and die-cut adhesives. TLP provides custom engineered adhesive and label solutions for the electronics, automotive, aerospace, industrial, biomedical, medical equipment, hydraulic fluid and power industries. For more information, contact TLP at 800.727.1344 or visit

TLP Press Contact: 
Larry Harvey

TLP received 6th consecutive 2016 Best Workplace In the Americas Award

TLP Earns 6th PIA “Best Workplace in the Americas” Award

TLP received 6th consecutive 2016 Best Workplace In the Americas AwardMenomonee Falls, WI12-05-2016 – Tailored Label Products of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and Suwanee, Georgia has been awarded the designation, Best Workplace in the Americas 2016, for its exemplary human resources practices.  This marks the 6th consecutive year that Tailored Label Products has received recognition from the Printing Industries of America as a Best Workplace. PIA created the BWA awards to specifically honor printing companies that provide a superior work environment.

A panel of highly respected HR print industry professionals judged the applicants on eight criteria: Management Practices; Work Environment; Training and Development Opportunities; Financial Security; Workplace Health and Safety; Work-Life Balance; Recognition and Rewards; and Health and Wellness Programs.

Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America, agrees.  “Best Workplace in the Americas winners routinely recognize that success is generated in many ways, and importantly, through their employees. Congratulations to Tailored Label Products.”

For more information about the Best Workplace in the Americas Awards, contact Adriane Harrison at 412-259-1707, or see

About Tailored Label Products (TLP) 
Tailored Label Products, Inc. (TLP) is a custom manufacturer of high-performance labels, tags, and die-cut adhesives. TLP provides custom engineered adhesive and label solutions for the electronics, automotive, aerospace, industrial, biomedical, medical equipment, hydraulic fluid and power industries. For more information, contact TLP at 800.727.1344 or visit

TLP Press Contact: 
Larry Harvey


Source: Printing Industries of America.

Governor's Worksite Wellness Award

Tailored Label Products (TLP) Named a Governor’s Worksite Wellness Award Winner

Governor's Worksite Wellness AwardTailored Label Products (TLP) of Menomonee Falls, WI, has been named a silver level award winner for the Governor’s Worksite Wellness Award in the medium company category. The designation, from the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, recognizes companies across the state that are committed to improving employee wellness.

“At TLP, wellness is an important part of our culture.  Our Wellness Committee continually works hard to provide employees with new and engaging opportunities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing,” said Nicole Richard, Director of Human Resources. “We are proud that our wellness initiatives are creating a healthier, happier workplace.  We are honored to receive recognition among other great companies.”

The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness was reestablished in 2012 and identified worksite wellness as a key area of focus in promoting good health in the state. Studies have shown that employee health affects a company’s bottom line in many ways, including decreased healthcare costs, increased productivity and better morale.

Applications for the Worksite Wellness Award are evaluated on criteria that include:

•    Program infrastructure
•    Health education
•    Health screening and disease prevention and management
•    Physical activity and nutrition components
•    Tobacco use policies
•    Alcohol and other drug policies

“A company that cares about its employees’ health is often seen as a better place to work. Those companies save money by retaining workers who appreciate the benefit of a wellness program and they can attract new employees in a competitive market,” said Jon Morgan, worksite wellness coordinator with the Wisconsin Chronic Disease Program.

The Wisconsin Worksite Wellness Award uses evidence-based criteria deemed essential for a successful worksite wellness program. Baseline requirements include having commitment from senior management, maintaining a wellness team that meets regularly, offering educational materials and presentations on a variety of wellness topics, offering health risk assessments and promoting physical fitness and healthy eating.

A full list of award winners can be found here.

Spirit of Americans with Disabilities Act - Spirit of ADA Award - Tailored Label Products (TLP)

Disability Rights Wisconsin Recognizes Tailored Label Products at “Spirit of ADA Awards”

Spirit of Americans with Disabilities Act - Spirit of ADA Award - Tailored Label Products (TLP)

Patrick Young (left) and Mike Erwin (right)

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI (October 5, 2016) – Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) has recognized the winners of its “Spirit of ADA Awards” in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The awards recognize Wisconsin companies, organizations or individuals along with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner who are positively changing and improving the lives of people with disabilities in Wisconsin.

“Since the passage of the ADA 25 years ago, people with disabilities have enjoyed increased access to employment, education, recreation, and government services, which contributes to better communities for all,” said Daniel Idzikowski, Executive Director of Disability Rights Wisconsin. “At DRW we advocate every day so that all people with disabilities can exercise the full extent of their rights and pursue the greatest possible quality of life,” he noted.

Tailored label was presented with the “Spirit of ADA Awards” Gold Award for its ongoing efforts to promote workplace opportunities for workers with disabilities.
TLP CEO Mike Erwin commented, “TLP understands that it is first and foremost, a company of people. That’s why we are so closely connected and committed to our employees and the communities in which we do business. From a wide variety of community involvement and charitable initiatives to a strong focus on employee development, we’re determined to keep positively touching the lives of people in every way possible. As an integral part of these initiatives, Tailored Label Products supports employing people with disabilities as an important component of our diverse workforce.  Our company, employees and community all benefit from the highly productive and gainful employment of people with disabilities. The TLP team gains additional benefit and inspiration from the opportunity to provide training and mentoring for fellow employees as they overcome workplace challenges. It is a great honor to receive this award as it is for a cause that is very near to our hearts.”
In 2014, Tailored Label Products was honored with the prestigious National APSE Employer Award in the medium-size company category.  The APSE (Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst) recognizes model companies for employment of individuals with disabilities, affording them the same wages and benefits as other employees, supporting the concept of integrated employment in its purest form. Additionally, Tailored Label Products and employee Patrick Young were recognized by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as helping to inspire a new initiative Walker unveiled in his 2014 State of the State speech. The effort, called “A Better Bottom Line,” is aimed at getting more Wisconsin companies to hire people with disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and mental illness.

An awards luncheon was held on Monday, October 5, at the Wisconsin Club, 900 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee to honoring the Gold, Silver and Bronze award recipients and special honoree, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.

Gold Winners

Aurora Health Care was selected from businesses, firms or places open to the public based on its outstanding example of accessibility and accommodation through the elimination of physical, social, policy and attitudinal barriers.

Fishing Has No Boundaries was selected from sports, arts or recreation organizations or venue nominees based on its outstanding commitment to full inclusion of people with disabilities, the elimination of barriers to participation, and the development of new opportunities for cultural expression.

Tailored Label Products was selected from employer or employee support organizations based on its outstanding commitment to the elimination of discrimination against people with disabilities in hiring and employment practices, supporting and accommodating workers and providing competitive integrated work opportunities.

Robert “Bob” Jauch was selected in the government or legislator arena based on his outstanding commitment to all people’s right to fully participate in all aspects of society through the enforcement of the standards established in the ADA, and ensuring access to voting and the provision of public services.

Diana Sullivan was selected as an individual champion based on her outstanding commitment to the Spirit of the ADA through advocacy, opportunity and example.

Silver Winners

Individual Champions

  • Ben Barrett
  • Cindy Bentley
  • Monica Lopez
  • Lyn Malofsky
  • Howard Mandeville
  • Audrey Nelson

Government or Legislator

  • Milwaukee Election Commission
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Geri Lyday
  • Helene Nelson
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Open the Outdoors

Employer or Employee Support Organization

  • AgrAbility
  • Anthem
  • Easter Seals Wisconsin FARM Program
  • Neosho Trompler
  • New Horizon’s North
  • Walgreen’s Distribution  Center

Access & Accommodations

  • Bridgeway Independent Living Design (BILD)
  • Metcalfe’s Market
  • Movin’ Out
  • Transit Express
  • Eppstein Uhen Architects

Arts, Sport & Recreation

  • Milwaukee Community Sailing Center
  • Overture Center for the Arts
  • Possibility Playground
  • Summerfest/Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
  • Waukesha Civic Theater

Bronze Winners

  • ABLE
  • Accessibility Plus
  • Al & AL’s Steinhaus Coffee
  • Damian Buchman – The Ability Center
  • Hector Colon
  • John Donnelly
  • Ashley’s Furniture
  • Karen Avery
  • Colectivo Coffee Roasters and Café
  • Deaf Unity
  • Sandy Engel
  • EVP Coffee
  • Froedert Hospital
  • Amber Lee Gilberg
  • Government Accountability Board
  • Ed Griffiths
  • Thomas Hlavacek
  • Henderson Excavating Landscaping and Supply
  • Independence First
  • Jill’s My Style Salon
  • John Hawk’s Pub
  • Johnson Controls
  • JW Winko
  • James & Jill Kocian
  • Stephanie Mauck
  • Michelle Martini
  • Main Street Menomonie
  • Milwaukee County Transit
  • Milwaukee Public Museum
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theater
  • Mother Nature’s Diaper Service, Inc.
  • Mary Neubauer
  • Penzeys Spices
  • Pro Healthcare- Waukesha Memorial Hospital
  • RampUp MKE
  • Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee
  • Katherine Schneider
  • Sam Schroth
  • Christine Siniki
  • Andy Thain
  • Southeast Wisconsin Adaptive Ski Program
  • T.J. Maxx
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison, Trace Research and Development Center
  • University of Wisconsin – Stout, Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute
  • VSA Wisconsin
  • Joy Walter
  • Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs (WAGS)
  • Zachariah’s Acres

“We hope Wisconsinites will celebrate the ADA with us and support DRW’s efforts in helping people with disabilities fully participate in all aspects of society by attending the Spirit of the ADA awards luncheon or sponsoring the event,” added Idzikowski.

About Tailored Label Products, Inc.

Tailored Label Products, Inc. (TLP) is a custom manufacturer of high-performance labels, tags, and die-cut adhesives. TLP provides custom engineered adhesive and label solutions for the electronics, automotive, aerospace, industrial, biomedical, medical equipment, hydraulic fluid and power industries. For more information, contact TLP at 800.727.1344 or visit

Media Contact:  Larry Harvey  |  (262) 345-6404  |

TLP Earns 4th PIA “Best of the Best” Workplace in the Americas Award

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

TLP Awarded - PIA Best of the Best Workplaces in the Americas Award

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Printing Industries of America proudly announces the recipients of the 2014 Best Workplace in the Americas Awards. A total of 28 graphic arts companies, both members through Printing Industries of America Affiliate Organizations and non-members, were selected by a committee of distinguished HR experts from within the industry. The program is designed to recognize graphic arts companies for outstanding human relations efforts which contribute to a successful workplace.

“Since 2000, the Best Workplace program has recognized industry leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada from small, medium, and large firms in the graphic arts industry for their outstanding human relations practices. While this year we felt that every company that entered the competition had HR programs worthy of great pride, the Best Workplace program recognizes outstanding accomplishment,” said Jim Kyger, Assistant. Vice President of Human Relations for Printing Industries. “The Best Workplace program stands out as one of the most stringent HR awards programs available in any industry because it analyzes key HR metrics and program documents that firms submit with their entry. Too many programs today just rely on an employee survey as the basis for their judging.”

Entries are judged on the following criteria: management practices, work environment, training and development, recognition and rewards, workplace health and safety, health and wellness, financial security, and work-life balance.

Nationally, a total of 15 companies received the coveted designation Best of the Best, honors.

Best of the Best Category

Small Companies (up to 100 employees)

Tailored Label Products, Menomonee Falls, WI

>>Read more

Press release info taken from the Printing Industries of America official press release.