If you have been watching the news, you know that supply chain issues have hit every part of the country. This kink in the supply chain has especially hit the paper market, as shortages have become an all too familiar scene. As the holidays and the new year approach, many print buyers and production managers are asking: “Where Is My Stuff?”
You have annual reports that need to get out, magazines that need to be printed, signage that needs to go up, and direct mail that needs to send. In a world of uncertainty, we want to start off the new year ready to go, prepared, and we know the paper shortage makes things even harder!
At Ironmark, we understand the frustration the supply chain constraints are causing. We feel it too, big time. We’ve discussed it in blogs, and we even did a webinar on it earlier this year. We are actively working with our partners and suppliers to ensure our customers get their orders in and aren’t impacted by the supply chain crisis.
With that said, you probably have a lot of questions around supply chain and paper shortages. We have put together this FAQ to ensure your questions are answered. And if we can help in any additional ways, let us know. Ironmark is here for you.
What’s actually happening?
Paper mills have become overwhelmed with the increased demand. The following are some of the factors adding to the issues you are experiencing:
- Paper Mills have scaled back production and are producing other materials (going from printing grades to packaging grades). With the increased need for paper, the paper mills are having a tough time producing enough paper to meet market demand. This has been compounded by workforce shortages as well.
- On top of that, you have global supply chain issues impacting the paper industry. This has caused raw materials to go up in price as manufacturing costs have increased.
- So we’re seeing a confluence of factors: paper shortages, skyrocketing demand, transportation holdups and logistical obstacles. All this has brought us to today where price increases and delays in paper have become the norm. Experts are seeing supplies change even by the hour.
What can you do about it?
One of the best things you can do is plan as early as possible. When you’re creating, designing or concepting your ideas for projects, it is more important than ever to work with us to identify what substrates and materials that are easily accessible. Talk to your team about what alternatives may be available to meet your needs and to get your project done on-time. Ask yourself: what is it being used for? What paper did you have in mind? Make sure you work with us or your production partner so you know what options you have. By coming up with alternatives, you can avoid a lot of headaches. You may not be able to get Option A, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get Option B or Option C.
It’s the Rule of Three today: communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s on your partner to communicate with you as often as they can. And for customers, if you haven’t heard from your partner, you can always reach out to them. Constant communication with your customer service team is going to solve a lot of issues before they become problems.
To ease your mind - we can get paper. Flexibility and communication will be the difference-maker that is going to get us all through this paper shortage. As long as you are constantly communicating, the better off your relationship will be with them. Transparency is key as the industry battles these never-before-seen delays.
So What’s Next?
Ultimately, it’s about staying on top of the delays, checking in every day with your providers, and connecting with your clients. If you need help navigating these issues, talk to our team at Ironmark today. We are here to navigate you through this new normal and deliver outcomes to ensure you get your products done on time.
What other questions do you have? Write them in the comments, and we’ll revisit this blog often to answer your questions and add them to this FAQ. Thanks in advance for your understanding, we’re all in this together!