The supply chain logjam that took root in 2021 continues to impact supply chain flow. Supply chain issues are negatively impacting businesses and marketers are experiencing the pinch when it comes to paper and sourcing materials. The delays and struggles to get print materials - paper, substrates, etc. - is an issue that must be resolved to ease the pressure on so many businesses that rely on print in their business. The big question is, when will there be a reprieve in the freight, shipping and sourcing delays that marketers are confronted with, and what predictions can we make as we push forward?

Supply Chain Crisis

The global shipping crisis is characterized by unprecedented consumer demand and longer delivery times than ever before. The jolt that some were hoping to see in the supply chain system following vaccination efforts has not happened. Demand for goods continues to increase, more so than the demand for experiences and services. There’s a shortage of containers due to a relatively weak year for trade in 2019. This has caused a reduction in the number of new containers that were produced going into 2020. The onset of the pandemic exacerbated the situation as factories closed and manufacturers curbed container production.

What ensued, and perhaps, what many didn’t see coming, was an increase in demand after a brief COVID-related recession. What followed was a chain of events that disrupted supply chains even further. The container shortage led to a jump in shipping costs, supply and labor shortages increased, warehouse spaces became constricted, heavy congestion developed at shipping ports, and people began to see significant delays in delivery times. According to an IHS Markit’s PMI survey of global manufacturing, delays in delivery times are the most severe on record. This combination of developments contributes to the spread of supply chain disruptions. There’s a shock to the system from the supply aspect to the demand aspect, and if it doesn’t reset, the problems will continue.

When Will the Supply Chain Issue Be Resolved?

The fouled-up supply chains only seem to be worsening. Marketers are hoping to see some change for the better in the coming year, but there’s no guarantee that supply chains will reset and get back to normal in 2022. The resounding prediction is that 2022 is the year calm will return, with the expectation that demand will gradually decrease as society returns to some sense of normalcy. According to Business Insider journalist Rachel Premack, the infrastructure cannot handle the current import levels and “the broad expectation is that ports and ocean carriers will be able to catch up on the backlog in early 2022…”

However, some business executives do not see the supply chain issues resolving in 2022, but expect the problem to continue beyond that. Scott Price, President of UPS, told AFP, "The logistics industry does not see 2022 as having any less disruption in supply chains than in 2021," as shipping prices between the U.S and Asia reach an unprecedented level. The truth is that while some executives are hopeful, others are pessimistic and see the disruption going into 2023. The question then becomes, what needs to happen to resolve the crisis, and how do we plan for 2022?

Planning for 2022

What’s obvious to all hurting parties, marketers included, is that the vicious cycle needs to be broken. Consumer demand needs to decrease in order for supply to catch up and restore efficiency. Business executives must prioritize navigating both the financial and operational challenges brought on by the pandemic, and at the same time, work swiftly to address the needs of their employees, suppliers, and customers.

Related: Supply Chain Issues and Corporate Gift Giving

Planning for 2022 will require addressing the supply chain issues from multiple angles. To mitigate the problem, executives can take a number of steps including:

  • Connecting with experts like Ironmark. When you work with a printer who understands what's happening in the supply chain, together we can come up with a plan that makes sense for your business. Talk to us about what is going on in your world, and where you're looking for help.
  • Show us your calendar. What do you have coming up next year? How might this impact your calendar? A great step is looking at your calendar and addressing where your products need to be and when. Together, we can work backwards to make sure we hit your deadlines.
  • Let us order your paper now. If we can get the paper in stock now to get in front of the rush. At Ironmark, you have the option to buy paper now, so you won't be left out in the cold if paper shortages get worse.

The supply chain issues that have been plaguing businesses seem like they will continue into 2022, and possibly beyond. As long as demand stays ahead of supply, the issue will likely continue. Marketers will have to adapt and confront the supply chain issues and hopefully, have already begun planning for next year. There’s no easy way forward, but careful assessment and actionable changes can alleviate some of the supply chain issues and revitalize bottom lines. For more help with addressing the supply chain issue, and ensuring you still get the things you need for the upcoming holiday season, check out our recorded webinar on corporate gift giving. It may have the answers you need.

Watch Our Corporate Gift Giving Webinar to Learn More About How You Can Get  Ahead of Supply Chain Issues.

Written by Scott Kravitz

Scott has been with the company since 2019. Scott was former President of Mount Vernon Printing Company (an RRD company). Kravitz brings a wealth of knowledge to the executive team, having brought a large book of Union business to Ironmark, as well as managing our 25 sales representatives. Kravitz provides alignment and communication between sales, marketing, clients, and production. He has over 25 years in the print and communications field, helping to create even greater opportunities for clients to benefit from all Ironmark service lines, including print, digital marketing, promotional products, and more. With his charismatic personality and effective management skills, Kravitz leads strategic partnerships with new, emerging, and enterprise clients for Ironmark, and is responsible for increased sales over the past two years. Kravitz is a graduate of RIT University.

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