Menomonee Falls-based Tailored Label Products, Inc. on Monday announced Jeff Kerlin as its new chief executive officer after Mike Erwin retired from the position.
Kerlin was named president of the manufacturer of labels, tags and die-cut adhesives in 2014. His promotion to CEO was effective Jan. 1.
“In promoting Jeff, I believe his 10-year long commitment to our company and over 27 years of industry leadership and experience will play well to the next generation of change within TLP,” Erwin said. “And it’s in keeping with TLP’s culture of promoting from within.”
Erwin, a partner with ownership in Tailored Label Products, led the company for 12 years and will remain on the board of directors to ease the transition. He said he plans to balance his time between working on boards of non-profits and mid-size companies, noting he had already received several calls about opportunities with non-profits since the announcement was made.
He also said he plans to speak on issues in the manufacturing sector, including workforce development.
“I want to thank Mike for his outstanding leadership, dedication and years of service to TLP,” said Todd Bence, board chairman and an original co-founder of the company. “The board has been focused on CEO succession planning for some time, and Mike has done an exceptional job grooming Jeff Kerlin and other future TLP leaders.”
Kerlin said he was honored by the promotion and the company is positioned “better than ever to support the expanding needs” of customers.
Tailored Label provides adhesive and label solutions for the electronics, automotive, aerospace, industrial, biomedical, medical equipment, hydraulic fluid and power industries.
Kerlin said he expects many things to remain the same for the company, noting Tailored Label has been “enjoying really solid growth.”
“We really found our niche and were enjoying getting our word out to folks,” he said, noting that investments in new technology for production, engineering and support for customers have helped.
Erwin said the company has had 400 percent growth over the last decade and in 2015 added more employees than it had as a total in 2003. He credited the company’s strategic plan and investments in technology and culture with helping to drive the growth.
“There’s not any one thing,” he said.
Kerlin acknowledged that many in manufacturing are approaching 2016 and 2017 with uncertainty and some expecting to be flat to slightly down. He said the company has been adding 100 new customers on a yearly basis, so he is hopeful those will counter any losses by larger customers.
“It’s a concern, but we’re very optimistic,” he said.
There are some larger investments the company is taking a wait-and-see approach on before moving forward and others where they have already gone ahead.
“We’ve invested heavily and we’ve invested for growth,” Kerlin said.
Erwin said the change in technology in recent years has opened up a lot of new opportunities, pointing to a new printer that allows for different kinds of images on tougher surfaces to print on.
“It allows the designers to get graphically creative,” he said, adding that the company is moving forward ahead of schedule because of the potential the equipment brings.