Brady Corporation

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Brady Corporation
Traded as NYSEBRC)
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1914
Headquarters Milwaukee, Wis., United States
Area served
Key people
J. Michael Nauman
(President and CEO)
Matthew O. Williamson
(President – IDS)
Thomas J. Felmer
(Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)
Helena Nelligan
(Senior Vice President – Human Resources)
Bentley N. Curran
(Vice President – Information Technology and Chief Information Officer)
Louis Bolognini
(Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary)
Products Identification solutions
Revenue IncreaseUS$1.32B (FY 2012)[1]
IncreaseUS$ 108.7M (FY 2012)[1]
Number of employees

Brady Corporation is a global manufacturer and marketer of complete identification solutions. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brady employs 6,600 people in operations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Brady Corporation was founded as W.H. Brady Co. in Eau Claire, Wis., in 1914 by William H. Brady.[2] In 1984, the company went public and began trading on the NASDAQ market. In 1998, W.H. Brady Co. became Brady Corporation and in 1999, the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol BRC. Today Brady has more than 1 million customers around the world and sales of about $1.15 billion.

Core Expertise[edit]

The company has core expertise in safety identification, regulatory compliance, brand protection, hospital facility safety, laboratory identification and specimen tracking, visual workplace for lean enterprises, visitor access, and voice and data communications and precision die-cut components. Its product lines encompass do-it-yourself printing systems, including high performance label materials,[3] signs and software solutions, and lockout/tagout, spill control and regulatory compliance devices.


Early Years—Brady's first products were promotional calendars, painted signs and point of purchase displays. The company made it through The Great Depression by manufacturing and marketing hundreds of millions of push cards. These small paperboard cards with rows of perforated circles concealing numbers, fit into Brady's already established business of printing, die cutting and laminating.

1940s—During World War II, Brady discovered the wire marker card, numbered cloth strips on an adhesive card. Electricians and assembly workers pulled wiremarker strips from the card and wrapped them around electrical wires creating a numbering system for identification purposes.

1950s & 1960s—Brady's move to Milwaukee launched an era of explosive growth. Brady became known as an "identification specialist." The company focused on both brand-new products and evolutionary improvements to its standard product line.

In addition to new products, Brady developed proprietary machines that could laminate, die cut, print and cut to length in a single operation, boosting production volumes and reducing production costs.

1970s—While Brady had sold products internationally through distribution and mail order since 1947, the 1970s are when global expansion at Brady truly matured. The company established subsidiaries in England, Belgium, Germany, France and Australia. By 1980, international subsidiaries accounted for 20 percent of Brady's sales.

1980s—The rise of direct marketing in the 1980s signaled a turning point in Brady's business strategy. In 1981, Brady acquired Seton, a direct marketing business that purchased nothing from Brady, but sold nearly identical products. Seton's catalog mailings soared from 1 million in 1981 to 8 million in 1988 and in 1985, Seton installed the company's first toll-free number, generating 600 calls in one day. Based on Seton's success in the U.S., subsidiaries were established in England, Canada and Germany by 1988.

1990s—Brady's business and product lines evolved with the evolution of technology. Throughout the decade, Brady introduced printing systems that enabled customers to print their own safety signs, labels and identification products on-site and on-demand. Software products along with printers, scanners and bar code labels launched Brady into the world of automatic identification and data collection. New high-performance materials could withstand the harsh of environments required for circuit board manufacturing and the advent of mobile phones opened a completely new market for Brady die-cut products.

2000s—Brady's most recent decade was one of growth through acquisition. More than 35 acquisitions around the world helped the company to triple in size[4] between 2003 and 2010. Brady was financially strong, weathered the great recession of 2009 and 2010 and used the downturn to invest in new product development, e-commerce, and productivity improvements while also refining its acquisition strategy.

Brady Products Behind the Scenes[edit]

As a specialty business-to-business manufacturer, Brady turns out products that consumers don't typically see, but are virtually everywhere—inside manufacturing facilities, public buildings, computers, airplanes, mobile phones and many other places people don’t think to look.

  • Brady markers identified every pipe in the Manhattan Project's weapons plant in the 1940s.
  • Brady has supplied helmet logos for a number of NFL teams including the Green Bay Packers.
  • Brady Contract Services used on North Slope during construction of the Alaska gas pipeline.
  • Brady SPC sorbent products helped clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[5] More than 500,000 feet of oil booms, thousands of nets, 600 bales of absorbent pads, and more than a million feet of other materials absorbed spilled oil from the water.

Sustainability at Brady[edit]

Brady takes a comprehensive approach to sustainability, focusing on the sustainability of the company, its customers and the communities in which it operates. In 2012, the company issued its first annual sustainability report.

The company in its operations focuses on reducing waste, conserving energy,[6] using natural resources responsibly and promoting employee safety. For example, in 2010 Brady became a Smartway Transport partner in the U.S. while in 2009 Brady opened a new facility in Egelsbach, Germany, that uses a geothermic heating and cooling system.

For its customers Brady uses Design for Environment principles to design the eco-friendly products customers require including halogen-free flame-retardant labels and ribbons for consumer electronic devices.

In its communities, Brady's focus is developing tomorrow's leaders where it operates through strategic philanthropy and employee engagement. Charitable giving through the Brady Corporation Foundation and Brady Corporation has increased 10-fold over the past five years and gift-in-kind donations have surpassed $1 million. Recent projects include a third China Hope School[7] in Sichuan Province; "Brady Corporation, Jr.,"[8] an interactive exhibit that teaches preschoolers about manufacturing at the Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee; and funding college educations through I Have a Dream[5] for a class of students at Clarke Street Elementary School.

International Expansion[edit]

1947: Brady began selling its products internationally, to South Africa.

1950s: First European sales office in U.K., and operations in Canada.

1960s & 1970s: Expansion throughout Europe with operations in Belgium, Germany, France and Sweden.

1980s: Entered Asia, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

1990s: Began operating in Mexico and Brazil with further expansion in Asia to China, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.

2000s (decade): Continued expansion in Asia, Thailand and India as well as expansion into Slovakia in Eastern Europe; Turkey in the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.

Brady Businesses[edit]

A history of acquisition means that Brady goes to market with many different names and brands, including:

PDC Safetyshop Emedco JAM Welco Scafftag DAWG Clement Communications & Peronnel Concepts Compliance in Ontario CA
BIG Badges ID Warehouse Securimed Stickolor Precision Dynamics Corporation Accidental Health & Safety
Personnel Concepts SPC Transposafe

Awards & Recognition[edit]

  • Brady named to InformationWeek 500 list of top IT organizations across the nation in 2010
  • Brady Technologies Thailand, Inc. Received 2010 Thailand Lean Award from the Thailand Promotion Association (Thailand-Japan).
  • Brady Receives Adoption is Good Business Award from The Business Journal and Adoption Resources of Wisconsin 2010.
  • Brady named to Forbes magazine's Platinum 400 list of Americas Best Big Companies in 2008 and 2006.
  • Brady President and CEO Frank Jaehnert named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Manufacturing Category for the Upper Midwest Region in 2008.
  • Seton U.K. and Safetyshop received ECMOD awards in 2007 & 2006 for business-to-business marketing.
  • Brady was named Corporate Strategic Acquirer of the Year in 2007 by M&A Advisor for its focused acquisition strategy.
  • Brady Received Outstanding Corporate Growth Award from the Association for Corporate Growth, 2007
  • Brady named to BusinessWeek magazine's annual "Hot Growth: 100 Companies to Watch" list in 2006.
  • Brady Freezerbondz label material was the first material to market that adheres to a frozen or frosted surface without the need to scrape or dry off the surface.
  • Brady was the first company recognized for its innovative Internet business strategy by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business association.


  1. ^ a b Brady (BRC) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest.
  2. ^ Gurda, John, Sticking to It: A History of the W. H. Brady Co., 1914–1989, Milwaukee: W. H. Brady Co., 1989.
  3. ^ December 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Stewart Landy (2009-12-01). "Labeling for Longevity | Material Handling Management Online". Retrieved 2011-12-31. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Brady Corporation Receives ACG Outstanding Corporate Growth Award. - Free Online Library". 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  5. ^ a b Rick Barrett (2010-07-06). "State firms step up in the Gulf Coast". JSOnline. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  6. ^ Lefever, Stephanie (2010-03-08). "Sustainable exit signs". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  7. ^ "US firm sets up 3rd Hope school in Sichuan". 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]