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Saunders reshores plastics manufacturing

By: Brandi Shaffer

March 20, 2012

READFIELD, MAINE (March 20, 12:45 p.m. ET) — Saunders Manufacturing Co. Inc. is reshoring plastics manufacturing jobs as part of a pledge to bring jobs back to the United States.

The Readfield, Maine-based manufacturer of aluminum clipboards, forms holders and plastic storage clipboards will relocate jobs from China to LC Industries in Jackson, Miss.

LC Industries said it is the largest employer of the blind in the United States.

Tracy Kastning, marketing manager for Saunders, said they do not know the exact number of jobs relocated to the U.S. yet, as re-shoring is occurring in waves with the first tool in place now, the second in 3-4 weeks and an additional tool in the near future.

Currently, Saunders employs 65 between manufacturing, distribution and administration in Maine and Mississippi.

“We do not know yet how many additional jobs our reshoring will create as it is a work in process, but we are confident this will continue to grow,” Kastning said.

A news release states the proposition will allow a shorter supply chain, a 75 percent reduction in lead time and stability in pricing and availability.

“As a U.S.-based business, we believe it is our responsibility to help grow our own economy first,” John Rosmarin, president and CEO of Saunders said. “We are committed to produce as many of our products as possible here in the U.S.A.”

The company selected the Mississippi location because of a distribution center already in place in Meridian, Miss.

Saunders’ “Made in the USA” product line will be bolstered by the reshoring, an effort that began in 2008 when the plastic clipboard manufacturing production moved to the U.S. Now, plastic storage clipboards will be added to the list of American-made products, which are constructed from recycled materials.

“From 2005-2008, the price competitiveness was so great that everyone shifted their manufacturing to China,” Kastning said. “We felt that based on quality and time to market, [reshoring jobs] was just the right decision to make.”

The company has always manufactured its aluminum products in Readfield. The alliance with LC Industries complements Saunders’ existing alliance with Mississippi Industries of the Developmentally Disabled and AbilityWorks Inc., which provide opportunities for Americans who are disabled, and has enabled over 70 manufacturing workers in the U.S.

Saunders also manufactures and distributes a brand of protective cases for smartphones, e-readers and tablets called RhinoSkin.