Crane to shift division to Pittsfield

Thursday March 25, 2010

DALTON -- Crane & Co. has decided to consolidate its stationery paper division in a building it owns in the Downing Industrial Park in Pittsfield.

The 120,000-square-foot facility currently houses Crane's transportation and stationery shipping departments. It will be transformed into a state-of-the art manufacturing facility that will house both the division's marketing and production staff, CEO Charles Kittredge said on Wednesday.

The company had announced last fall that it intended to consolidate its stationery paper operations from four facilities to one, in order to make the division more cost-effective and efficient. The consolidation project is expected to cost more than $2 million, according to Kittredge.

"All of our facilities in our stationery business will be together now instead of in four different locations," Kittredge said. "Everybody will be under the same roof, and we can cross-train employees for different jobs. There will be more production, and we'll save more on energy and transportation costs."

The consolidation plan will not result in any layoffs, but will require transferring the company's 200 employees from Crane's Personal Design Services facility in North Adams, and 60 additional workers who work in Dalton and a second company facility in the Downing Industrial Park. Crane intends to close its Dalton and North Adams facilities by mid-2011.

"I would guess that we'll be adding some additional employees in the Pittsfield area," Kittredge said. "Some people who live north of North Adams may not want to make the commute."

Crane had also considered consolidating its stationery division at the company's Byron Weston Mill in Dalton, but Kittredge said the company determined that renovating the Pittsfield building would be easier and less expensive.

"We'd have to utilize two floors" at the Byron Weston Mill, Kittredge said. "Doing it that way would make it more complex in terms of a manufacturing operation. We wanted it all together."

Crane has operated in North Adams since 1970 when the company purchased Excelsior Printing and Excelsior Process and Engraving. In 1985, Crane moved Excelsior Printing and Engraving to the Robert Hardman Industrial Park on Curran Highway, where the company's personal design services plant is currently located.

"Down the road, we'll probably be looking for a buyer for that facility if we can't use it ourselves," Kittredge said. "We haven't made that determination yet."


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