Paper is hard to come by
In general, for all types of 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 North American mills. It's much harder right now to get foreign paper due to shipping bottlenecks and container shortages. This is one primary reason why paper is in short supply.
Production levels at North American 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, North American 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.
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.
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 using 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. The more time you give us, the easier it will be to find paper on your schedule. The earlier you commit to print, 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 months 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.
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 avoid significant delays and/or price hikes.
Despite all these challenges, we have been able to meet our customers’ deadlines recently for most projects. We are working really hard to meet your requirements in a tough situation. Please reach out to your sales rep with any questions.