Saunders Manufacturing Co. Inc. is bringing jobs back to the U.S.
The Readfield, Maine-based manufacturer of aluminum clipboards, forms holders and plastic storage clipboards will relocate manufacturing jobs from China to LC Industries in Jackson, Miss.
LC Industries said it is the largest employer of the blind in the U.S.
Tracy Kastning, marketing manager for Saunders, said the company does not know yet the exact number of jobs relocated to the U.S., as the initiative is occurring in waves. The first molding tool has been returned and is in place now, the second will return in three to four weeks, and an additional tool will come in the near future.
Currently, Saunders employs 65 in 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 in the release. “We are committed to produce as many of our products as possible here in the USA.”
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 its 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] 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 relationship with Mississippi Industries of the Developmentally Disabled and AbilityWorks Inc., which provide opportunities for Americans who are disabled. More than 70 disabled workers manufacture Saunders products in the U.S.
Saunders also manufactures and distributes a brand of protective cases for smartphones, e-readers and tablets called RhinoSkin.