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Paper Supply Chain Challenges

As Covid restrictions continue to lift across the US, many employees are returning to their offices and businesses are experiencing rapid growth—but now we are now faced with a challenge: supply chain interruptions.

Supply chain issues have been interrupting manufacturing processes over the last few years—and the printing industry is no exception. We’re seeing it in the decreased 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. And with the post-pandemic surge, they saw a dramatic depletion in their supplies finding themselves unable to keep up with the increased demand.

We know, everyone is wondering when will the supply chain stabilize?

That’s the million-dollar question to which nobody seems to have a solid answer. Experts predict that some stabilization is likely toward the middle of 2023, or possibly into the first quarter of 2024.

Delays are becoming a way of life

There are a variety of reasons that can cause delays in order deliveries, some of the most common include:

  • Shipping delays: Issues like congested transportation hubs/ports, equipment malfunctions, or mandated work stoppages.
  • Inventory issues: Interrupted flow of normally available items due to supply shortages in paper, ink, glues, etc.
  • Warehouse problems: Unexpected sickness/understaffing, technical glitches, damage to items, or other operational challenges.
  • Inaccurate delivery estimates: Online tracking estimates for delivery times aren't always reliable from cascading multiple events.
  • Shipping carrier delays: Disruptions like weather delays, high volumes orders, or tracking scanning issues from equipment to internet.
  • Customs inspections: International orders occasionally get held up in customs if selected for additional screening or added documentation.
  • Incorrect addresses: If an order has an missing or inaccurate shipping address delays.