When the COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S., we were all surprised by the lack of certain everyday products. Once toilet paper returned to store shelves, we’d be back to normal! Who could forecast a year later, we would feel the squeeze on paper in the printing industry?
Many had a hard time understanding why paper availability could be an issue in early spring 2021. It had always been relatively available, but mills were consolidating before the pandemic, then once underway, others shifted focus from commercial papers to packaging board or discontinued paper lines while some downsized instead. Now many of our long-time paper suppliers have resorted to an allocation system, limiting printing companies to buying a set number of pounds of paper per month. That, combined with transportation and labor issues, has helped to create a “perfect storm” never seen before.
Fortunately for our clients, we were able to buy paper and begin storing it in advance of orders before increasingly tight conditions set in during the second half of 2021. In today’s marketplace we are seeing coated sheets (gloss, dull and silk finishes), uncoated paper and now even envelopes are difficult to come by.
Because of our purchasing power and great relationships with all the major paper providers, we are ideally situated to buy paper in this strained market. In addition, we have expanded our warehouse capacity and have been adding commonly used papers to ensure we have stock available for your digital, sheetfed, and/or web jobs.
What can you do?
- Communication and coordination are keys to your success. Reach out to your Allied Representative with any questions or concerns.
- Forecast your direct mail, catalog, annual report, and campaign work – any sizeable projects – so we can work by your side in advance to locate what is available or make suggestions on what we can purchase to keep your project on schedule.
- Be flexible. Ask for options in grade, weight, and finishes because the supply fluctuates daily. What may be available on Monday could be gone on Tuesday.
Our paper experts predict this situation will remain into the foreseeable future. Please reach out to Allied and let us bring solutions to you!