Most of you have probably been affected by the raw material crisis in some way or the other. Either it´s metal, plastic or wood, it eventually affects us all. As it has been a global issue for quite some time and isn´t showing any signs of retreat, we need to adapt and make the best out of it.
Here are three main strategies that have helped us to soften the blow.
Being adaptable and open to changes
The times when you could be loyal to a specific paper brand, are over. There are shortages of paper in all categories ang grammages regardless if it´s coated, uncoated, white or colored. Sometimes 350g Silk needs to be switched to 300g Silk, 100g Serixo replaced with 100g Multioffset or vise versa. Even a small format change could help if a specific paper is needed. So with time-critical projects, be prepared and open to alternatives, because the requested paper could very well be out of stock or take a long time to deliver.
For years we have been used to factories delivering custom paper orders in 3-4 weeks. Now a big project has to be planned almost half a year ahead to ensure the right paper at the right time. Even medium or small sized jobs with special paper requests need to be planned a few months ahead. So ordering paper one day prior to printing has turned into checking availability when an order is even in sight.
The rise in producing packaging in combination with the issues in cardboard delivery made us change the way we work. For about a year we have been keeping a stable stock of cardboard in a few different grammages and sizes. It ensures a secure and fast production flow in times where regular cardboard deliveries could be a few months long. That said, as the our stock contains only a limited number of articles based on the most used materials, some projects still require a special material order. We are currently expanding the same strategy to other paper types as well.
We cannot control the paper market or material delivery times, but we can do our best to mitigate the effect the general raw material shortage has on our projects and our customers. As we are not in this alone, we´re relying on our partners and customers to have the same proactive mindset about it.