Dunn and Co. at forefront of reshoring movement

by admin on September 4, 2017

Dunn and Co. Co-founder a commercial printer in Clinton, reshored 12 production jobs from China in 2014 for its calendar manufacturing operation. Co-founder David Dunn recently sat down with the Worcester Business Journal to talk about the state of manufacturing in the country and Central Mass. area.

Describe what the company does.

We’ve always been making books in Mass., but really we’re the world’s largest book hospital. When books manufactured in Asia, Spain and Vietnam are rejected by the publisher, and the manufacturer can’t get new books done in time, they come to us and we make them saleable.

The company reshored 12 production jobs to the U.S. in 2014. Why was that decision made?

Our sister company, Legacy Publishing Group, designs, markets and sells products for the gift market. They do a lot of calendars. But the challenge you have with overseas manufacturing of calendars – it takes a long time. If you order 1,000 calendars and should have ordered 5,000, you’re probably not going to get another 4,000. We had to come up with a way we could produce the necessary demand here in the U.S.

Why don’t you just make them all here?

It’s too expensive. I’m very curious to see how we’re going to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. – to make America great again – when products have to be able to be produced at a cost that people can afford to buy.

Why is manufacturing so cheap to do in China?

Labor rates are tremendously low. It’s like taking dollars a day rather than tens of dollars a day. We’re talking about raw materials being a quarter of the price what they are in the U.S.

In China, it takes about 18 people to make a calendar. Everything they do is done by hand. It’s cheap labor. The goal of their government is to put people to work. The more people you hire, the better deal you get from the government.

We do the same with with five people.

By the way, it’s not as good. But, do you want good or cheap?

Why are many manufacturers – such as medical devices makers – reshoring jobs back to the U.S.?

A lot of people are dealing with a sensitive product. If I were a reseller, I wouldn’t want to take the chance of something being used in a medical procedure to be possibly contaminated. For example, if books were made with lead paint and get rejected by publishers. Would you take that chance with a medical device? Of course you wouldn’t.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by Zachary Comeau, WBJ Staff Writer.

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