As Covid restrictions continue to lift across the United States, many employees are returning to their offices. Businesses are now experiencing rapid growth. But now we are now faced with a challenge: paper supply chain challenges and interruptions.
Supply chain issues have been interrupting manufacturing processes over the last few years. SLB Printing along with the rest of the printing industry is no exception. We’re seeing it in the unprecedented decrease in availability of paper stocks, the increased cost of raw materials and labor shortages. Because of the decreased demand for print products during the pandemic, mills reduced their inventories down to the lowest levels in history. Now, with the post-pandemic surge, they saw a dramatic depletion in their supplies finding themselves unable to keep up with the increased demand. In addition to this, transportation of raw materials to the mills is exacerbating the problem of making paper domestically.
That’s the million-dollar question to which nobody seems to have a solid answer. Experts predict that some stabilization is likely toward the end of 2022, or possibly into the first quarter of 2023. However, just when we think we can expect supply shortages to ease, something new comes out of left field to keep the paper supply chain challenges front and center.
We found another great article from our friends at Printing Impression Magazine on how other printers are all in the same predicament when it comes to paper supply chain challenges. To read more on this, click HERE.
One thing all experts agree on in riding out this storm of uncertainty is that communication with our customers is key. Talking with YOU sooner rather than later about maintaining flexibility in our offerings and the projects you are doing helps reduce the stress of scheduling jobs. Unfortunately, there are going to be disappointments along the way. Job delays due to paper and labor shortages is not something any of us have seen. Navigating these paper supply chain challenges right now is a work in progress. But this too shall end with time. It’s not the first time we’ve had to navigate challenging circumstances. At SLB Printing, our clients know that each one of you gets personalized attention from us and we can be proactive about job interruptions from paper shortages.
The main thing we continue to do in order to work through paper supply chain challenges is invest in inventory. We do this whenever possible now. Most other medium size print shops don’t have the time or space to do this. We know! We’ve been getting the daily phone calls with insane requests. Somehow we find a way to Get It Done! Guess that’s why people agree: