Perhaps you’ve heard or even have felt the supply chain issues, like the shortage of lumber, new cars, computer chips and labor. But the bigger impact for the marketing industry is a global paper and ink shortage––with no end in sight.

Paper is a commodity market and has historically been subject to up and down cycles, but every direct marketer needs to prepare for impacts in 2022 far worse than we’ve seen in the past.

A number of market forces are converging to drastically impact paper supply:

  • Raw material shortages such as pulp and chemicals
  • Temporary plant closures because of drop in paper demand and workforce challenges caused by COVID
  • Permanent plant closure resulting from bankruptcies
  • Mills switching from producing paper to now making cardboard packaging due to the growth of online retailers that need shipping boxes
  • Transportation bottlenecks as companies struggle to hire enough truck drivers
  • Decrease in the import of international paper stocks due to skyrocketing shipping and transportation costs

To add fuel to the fire, ink shortages are caused by many of these same issues along with changing environmental policy in countries like China, which have caused many plants to close.

Some printers have tried to combat these challenges by stockpiling paper, which in turn has resulted in paper mills rationing sales based on historical printer purchase volumes.

The net result: Direct marketers need to prepare for increased paper costs and plan campaigns more strategically, allowing sufficient time to secure the necessary paper. What was once a 4- to 6-week process is now extended to a 10- to 16-week process in many cases, depending on the specialty of the paper.

The good news: Creative Solutions can help! Because direct mail is our core competency, we offer a complete range of services including design, data processing, printing and mailing. Our production management team has proven capability to meet demanding schedules. And because of our unique range of print capabilities, we are not tied to a single print supplier.

Let us help manage your next campaign with our robust network of printers to ensure your 2022 campaigns stay on plan. Call 302.543.8533 or email us at today.