Briggs and Stratton to add 50 U.S. jobs

Updates previously announced onshoring plans

Briggs & Stratton headquarters
The Briggs & Stratton headquarters in Wauwatosa.

Wauwatosa-based Briggs and Stratton Corp. on Monday highlighted its previously announced decision to move production of its Vanguard engines from Japan to the United States.

Briggs & Stratton headquarters
The Briggs & Stratton headquarters in Wauwatosa.

The company said the move would add 50 jobs at both its Stateboro, Georgia and Auburn, Alabama plants, job growth that wasn’t previously announced. Briggs originally discussed the move in August as part of a “business optimization program” that is expected to generate up to $35 million in savings annually by fiscal 2019.

The plan, which also includes a new production facility in New York for Ferris commercial mowers, is expected to cost $50 million to $55 million. The Alabama project alone includes a $12 million investment by the company, according to a release from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

“We see this as a strategic competitive advantage because we can manufacture closer to our customers in the U.S., resulting in faster production times and faster shipping,” said David Rodgers, Briggs and Stratton senior vice president and president for global engines and power.

Vanguard engines are used in a number applications including commercial turf care, construction, fire and rescue, and golf course equipment. Briggs has increased its emphasis on products for commercial applications in recent years.

Beyond the expansions, the business optimization plan includes an upgraded enterprise resource planning system and other “operational excellence efficiency improvements.”

The company’s latest earnings release included $2 million in after tax cash charges related to employee termination benefits, lease terminations, professional services and plant rearrangement activities.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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