Supply Chain
Supply Chain

Supply Chain Challenges in Print Industry 

Surging demand, supply chain disruptions and sharply rising costs have significantly altered the economics of various industrial sectors at large.  

Fortune reported that 94% of Fortune 1000 companies had supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, and 75% reported negative impacts on their businesses. And print industry is no exception which has seen significant shortages of paper and ink as well as delays in the shipping of available materials.  

Disruptions Affecting the Printing Industry 

The current disruptions in the supply chain have resulted in increased costs of substrates as well as consumables, especially paper and ink. In addition to that, there are shipping delays to contend with, not only from manufacturers but also with deliveries of finished products to customers. Significant disruptions in the supply chain and a labor shortage made worse by the pandemic have caused many printing businesses to see delays in their print orders.   

Printing United Alliance in collaboration with NAPCO Research conducted a survey regarding supply chain disruption plaguing the print industry to measure evolving supply chain dynamics and how printing companies are responding to them. Survey mostly focused on printing companies across the United States and Canada.  

Supply Chain Conditions  
Supply Chain Condition

According to the survey, among different challenges that continue to plague the print industry, supply chain disruption topped the list with 92.3% citing it as a major concern in Q1, 2022. And after three months, it still remains the top concern for 70.1% of companies in Q2. 

 Supply chain disruptions continue to be a major issue for the printing industry, creating increased costs, unpredictable workflows, and pressure on margins. 

Experts predict these issues will continue well into the end of 2022 for many reasons. Let’s break them down. 

Substrate Shortages 

At the beginning of the pandemic, when many businesses shut down or slowed significantly, there was a decrease in demand for the in-store and marketing materials we create and print, like brochures, mailers, or POS signage. Now with many businesses around the world back open, we are finding that print marketing materials are in high demand. However, the materials and labor to produce and deliver them are scarce. 

Substrate Availability and Prices 

Most of the printers, according to the survey, reported there is still a decrease in the availability of all types of substrates as opposed to a price which most of them agree has risen for the same period. More than three-quarters report there is less availability for coated paper (84.8%) and uncoated paper (79.2%); more than half cite less availability for vinyl (62.2%) and plastics (55.7%).  

All of these shortages are driving up prices. The majority report higher prices for all substrates, with nearly all reporting increases for coated paper (96.7%) and uncoated paper (95.4%). The cost of raw materials has increased. According to NBC’s Today show, wood pulp has gone up 50.2% over the past year, which drove the price of paper up 14.2% in the same period. 

Consumable Shortage 

Consumable supply including ink, toners, coatings, etc. is also tight for many of the same reasons as substrates- transportation cost increases, shifting demand, and supply chain constraints. For instance, the typical UV ink printers use every day are on production delays, and specialty inks are becoming more difficult to find. 

InkWorld Magazine reports the major imbalance in the supply and demand of the raw materials used in producing ink is due to factory shutdowns in China, bad weather in Latin America and the United States, and the rising cost of raw materials. 

Shipping Delays 

Apart from the substrate and consumable shortages, the shipping constraints are also making it difficult for manufacturers to ship them to printers around the world. There have been registered delays with raw materials not only from overseas, but are being experienced locally as well. Many companies are regaled with driver and truck shortages, subsequently delaying shipment. 

 Supply chain disruptions have impacted the bottom line for many and will continue to slow industry growth. However, despite challenges, there are also opportunities for businesses to improve their supply by adopting strategies that are conducive to the current situation.

Machine Dalal platform is preferred by buyers and sellers from the global print industry to get directly connected with each other and trade their machinery.              

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