'Made in NJ' draws praise from Secretary of Labor

September 25, 2012 3:01:42 PM PDT
The U.S. Secretary of Labor was in New Jersey Tuesday to praise a company for insourcing.

We've all heard of outsourcing, where jobs go overseas, but U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis visited Bordentown-based Princeton Tec to applaud it for insourcing.

The company, which produces everything from flashlights to headlamps for scuba divers and the military, has been bringing all of its manufacturing done in China back to New Jersey.

"We bring back this renaissance in manufacturing, creating products that we can sell and compete with other countries and other businesses abroad," said Hilda Solis.

At its peak, company officials say 40 to 50% of its manufacturing was done in China, but they now believe it's more cost effective to do it here in the states.

"If we need to make a change on a product that is in China, sometimes it can take 30, 60, 90 days to get that," explained Laura Papp, Princeton Tec Account Manager.

Company officials say production can be streamlined, done more cheaply and at a higher quality.

"We were getting product in, we would test it here and it wasn't to our standards," said Princeton Tec General Manager David Cozzone. "Just from a cut and sew from a head strap webbing, we're cutting and sewing here, we mold all the plastic pieces for it, and we can do it for 30% less than we were buying it overseas. And it's better quality."

"We have increased our workforce by about 80 people, and we anticipate being able to add to that," said Hal Stephens, Princeton Tec Owner.

Princeton Tec now has 160 employees and two manufacturing locations where skilled laborers are making between $7.35 and $13.00 an hour and like the idea of insourcing.

"We need to keep the economy going, and keeping everything here in America will help that," said Betty Durham.

It may not be the case for every company, but ending overseas production has been a plus for Princeton Tec which has found that using the local workforce and facilities is succeeding better than outsourcing.

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