A year after the Waterloo Industries Headquarters was located to Sedalia, the company is expanding its product reach with a number of companies, including Walmart.
The new partnership is part of Walmart’s 2013 U.S. Manufacturing Commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in U.S. products that support American jobs by 2023.
“Back in January 2013, Walmart committed to purchase $250 billion more in U.S. made, grown and sourced products over a 10-year period,” Walmart Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing Cindi Marsiglio said. “What that means for us is above and beyond what we were already sourcing. We’re almost four years into the commitment and we’re tracking really great according to the plan we set out for ourselves. This is on top of what we were already sourcing from the U.S., and a large part is food, consumables. We’re trying to accelerate the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing.”
Customers can now buy a three-drawer project center for $84 in roughly 2,000 Walmart stores, according to Waterloo Director of Retail Sales Brad White. The eight-drawer tool storage combo is already in about 100 stores and will be in roughly 170 by the end of the year.
“There’s three ways we are going to attain that goal, the first is growing with current suppliers,” Marsiglio said. “Second is support those suppliers to move production to the U.S. from offshore, play a role with our scale to make the move a little faster if it makes sense to make products for Walmart in the U.S.
“Third is to find new products we are not already selling. Waterloo’s toolboxes selling at Walmart stores, Walmart.com is a great example of a company we weren’t carrying and found. … It’s exciting to see them out in the stores today. We were (at Waterloo) last month for National Manufacturing Day, meeting with them, learning about Waterloo and their toolbox manufacturing and the potential they have. We’re excited to see how the product performs.”
Not only are Walmart customers gaining a new U.S.-made product, the partnership will have positive benefits in Sedalia. Waterloo Director of Human Resources Rachel Zungia said the company plans to add about 60 t0 70 full-time jobs by the end of the year to keep up with production growth, with about 40 of those directly related to the Walmart partnership.
“That’s huge because you may have heard few weeks ago (at the Waterloo announcement), Waterloo closed the Nogales, Mexico, plant and moved it all to Sedalia — that’s huge in itself,” Zungia said of Waterloo’s inclusion in Walmart’s U.S. Manufacturing Commitment. “Not too many U.S. companies can say instead of shipping jobs offshore, we’re bringing stuff back to the U.S. I don’t think you hear much of that right now, and having Walmart support that is great.
“… It’s a really good partnership, that they’re wiling to support us as a U.S. manufacturer is awesome,” she added. “The big piece is it’s huge for our community to add this many full-time jobs.”
Marsiglio said there are three reasons for creating the U.S. Manufacturing Commitment, one being that the new partnerships are good for Walmart’s business, creating a shorter supply chain, reducing risk and cutting costs. The other two are directly related to the people Walmart serves.
“The second is community impact. This effort could make as many as 1 million new jobs, that is impactful in cities where we have stores across the country,” she said. “Most importantly our customers tell us where products are made is driving purchase decisions, it’s second to price. That’s a really important component to us, and we don’t see that going away.
“Customers want to know where things are made. That drove our thinking in the beginning and over the years, while certainly challenging in some categories, we’ve seen a lot of success, seen new items hit the shelves that may not have otherwise.”