What you need to know about the national paper shortage



While we have felt the pains of the paper shortage in the Direct Mail industry for a long time, Today reports that the national paper shortage is creating order delays felt across several different industries including schools and grocery stores.

The paper shortage can be attributed to many factors such as tightening capacity, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions. In the past year alone, we have seen the gap between capacity & demand narrow. In 2021 & 2022 the Shipments to Capacity ratio was forecast to be in the low 90%. So far in 2021 YTD is over 94%.  

The misalignment between capacity and demand has led to longer production lead times, late deliveries, and volatile pricing. Experts tell us we can expect capacities to remain tight into 2022 and potentially into 2023.

As we continue to navigate this tumultuous market here are some tips to bear in mind.

1. Plan ahead.

As a result of high capacity and strains on the supply chain we are seeing unprecedented lead times, some as high as 12 weeks. Planning ahead and communicating needs for upcoming campaign scan allow us to source the appropriate material as needed.

2. Be flexible in paper stock selections.

In certain circumstances, it may be easier to source an uncoated vs a coated stock or a 60 pound stock vs a 70 pound stock. If you are unsure of a paper substitute our client services team is happy to make recommendations.  

3. Talk to your vendor about paper allocation

Your vendor may have certain paper stocks allocated to them that may be worth exploring.

As always our client services team is here to answer any questions you may have regarding the paper market and any upcoming changes.

Thank you! for connecting with us. We look forward to seeing if we can work together in the future.
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