In an effort to reduce excess offset manufacturing capacity and to free up resources to invest in digital manufacturing, Edwards Brothers Malloy announced that it is consolidating its two Ann Arbor, Michigan manufacturing plants, located 7 miles apart, into one facility. The State Street plant offset operation will be moved to the company’s other offset facility located on Jackson Road in Ann Arbor, with some equipment also being moved to its facility in Lillington, North Carolina. The State Street property will be put on the market. The move is expected to take 6-12 months, with some positions being closed now. Additional positions may be identified for closure as the consolidation progresses over the next year.
“It’s a very difficult decision to make,” said John Edwards, President and CEO of Edwards Brothers Malloy. “My grandfather built the State Street plant and many of our employees have family members working here—I’ve known and worked with many of them my whole life. But like most book printers, we’ve seen a decline in longer run offset business. At the same time our digital operation is growing at a 20% clip, so that is where we need to be investing for the future. Having two large offset facilities this close together that are not fully utilized just doesn’t make sense and we need to redirect resources to the side of the business that is growing.”
Edwards noted that the company has invested significantly in its digital manufacturing operation in the last year, including the addition of a new inkjet press which will be installed in Ann Arbor in the next 6-8 weeks. Edwards Brothers Malloy also took over the operation of an in-house digital print center for a publishing client in New Jersey earlier this year and will incorporate those operations into its digital facilities by October 1st. Other recent investments include creating an expanded digital print hub for its Print Local program in Oxnard, California, upgrading presses in most of its 9 digital print centers, the upgrading of EDI capabilities for its print-on-demand and gps Global Print Solutions programs, and a new customer web portal for handling online transactions, due out in 2014.
“This is part of a multi-year plan to position us for the future,” said Edwards. “We’re celebrating our 120 year anniversary this year. With hard work and a bit of luck, we plan to be around for the next 120 years.”