For big runs, paper is hard to come by
For big print runs, paper and envelopes are in short supply. Here are the major reasons why:
Supply-chain bottlenecks are impacting paper manufactured in Asia. According to Statistica, China and Japan manufacture twice the volume of high grade commercial papers than U.S. mills. It's much harder right now to get foreign paper due to shipping and bottlenecks at ports. This is the primary reason why paper is temporarily in short supply.
Production levels at US paper mills have been flat for the last ten years. While Asian companies have increased their capacity by nearly 30% in the past ten years, US manufacturers elected to keep production flat during the same period.
Cargo, truck and rail shipments have been delayed due to COVID. Trucking firms are having a hard time filling driver positions, for example.
No worries for short-run and regular-run orders. These concerns about paper shortages only apply to big runs and special order unique paper! We keep standard house paper on hand. There really is no need to worry with small and regular orders on standard paper.
Global trends, local consequences
You may see the term "theoretical paper" on your quote. Theoretical paper means that:
We quote as if paper will be available. With theoretical paper, our estimators quote as if paper will be available when you place your order to price your project. This will need to be confirmed when you’re ready to order.
Quotes are subject to change until you place your order and/or purchase the paper. The paper market is highly volatile, with significant swings in the price based on availability. All quotes are subject to re-quote when you place the order. Typically only big runs and specialty paper are affected.
Paper availability is not guaranteed. We cannot guarantee that paper will be available either now or when your order is placed. To secure paper that is available, you should arrange with us to buy it immediately.
Allow substitutions. To meet your deadline, we may need to recommend a substitute stock.
You can minimize your risk
You can increase the likelihood of keeping your print project on schedule and on budget with the following strategies:
Submit your quote requests early. Get your quotes in as soon as you decide to go forward with your print project. If you can, submit them well in advance of when your files will be ready for big runs and specialty paper. The more time you give us, the easier it will be to find paper on your schedule. The earlier you commit to print with us, the more likely we will be able to fill your order based on a normal turn-around.
Purchase now to lock in the price. Consider purchasing your paper if it is available, even if your job is weeks away from being ready. You can prepay for paper and storage. This will lock in the price and ensure availability when you are ready to print.
Allow us to substitute with comparable stocks. Your preferred stock may take weeks or months longer to acquire than a similar sheet.
Be ready to act. The more flexible and proactive you are, the more likely we can meet your schedule.
We ran a quote for an annual report for a large southwest organization. On a recent Wednesday, we submitted the quote and recommended they commit to purchasing the paper immediately. Even though the customer secured permission to place the order just two days later, it was still a day too late! The paper had been sold the day before and was no longer available. We had to substitute both the cover and text stocks to print the job.
Expect higher paper costs, at least in the short term. Paper is scarce, which is driving up the price. Expect the quotes you receive to reflect this current reality. The more time you give us to secure your paper, and the more flexible you are with substituting comparable stocks, the more likely you can aovid significant delays and/or price hikes.
Despite all of these challenges, we have been able to meet our customers deadlines recently for the vast majority of projects that have come in. We are working really hard to meet your needs in a tough situation. Please reach out to your sales rep with any questions.