One thing we have learned repeatedly over the past 12 months is to expect the unexpected. We’ve experienced everything from pandemics, to murder hornets. But if your 2021 bingo card had soaring paper prices, supply chain constraints, and extended backlogs you may be calling “bingo” soon.

The paper industry faces many challenges right now:

  • Paper Availability – E-commerce and carryout business is booming. As consumers continue to have food and retail purchases delivered to their homes, the demand for heavyweight paper has skyrocketed. As paper mills struggle to respond to the pressure, they’ve allocated less machine time to lightweight kraft paper. That means there is less raw material available to manufacture merchandise and SOS bags for retail, food packaging and pharmacy bags.
  • Paper Prices – Paper suppliers are raising lightweight kraft prices due to increased costs of manufacturing, rising freight costs, worker shortages, and the increased demand for heavier basis weights. We continue to work with our network of paper suppliers, but there is a high likelihood of price increases as many mills discontinue and reduce production of lightweight kraft.
  • Extended Lead Times & Delays – Not only are we faced with a labor shortage in our manufacturing facility, but we’re fighting delays and supply shortages from our raw material vendors and freight delays.

Where do we go from here? We’ve always said, “You provide the opportunity, we’ll provide the solution.” We’re committed to that now more than ever. But we will all need to be flexible and creative.

To manufacture bags, we need paper. When our primary supply chain is strained, we may need to go to Plan B. That may mean slightly different shades, basis weights, or varying recycled content. As we get creative to find solutions, there may be some variation in substrates to provide product – and we ask for your patience.

If you’re looking for ways to increase your chances of receiving product sooner, check out this post. It’s almost a year old, but still rings true. Plan ahead, simplify and be patient. Together we’ll get through this!