Update on Paper Prices and Inventory
Due to continued strains on the supply chain regarding paper and supplies, Gabriel Group, an OSG Company, is proactively reaching out to clients to plan out projects over the coming months. Demand for printing continues to be high while inventory remains very low with longer than usual lead times for materials resulting in continued cost increases. The ongoing impact of the pandemic has caused delayed shipping, depleting inventory on the floor and continues to jeopardize scheduling due to the labor shortage.
We are currently working with clients on long-term planning to create ample lead time and set expectations for realistic project schedules. Ad-hoc or drop-in projects will be difficult to accommodate, and we ask for your patience as we work with our suppliers.
Less Paper, More Expense
- Paper mills are closing or converting to alternative products
- Raw material demand continues to rise
- Rising fuel and freight
- Reduced labor resources
- Cost for other materials also on the rise
- Specialty paper and envelopes hard to find and expensive
What can you do?
- Plan: start planning now for the remaining months of 2021 and as far into 2022 as possible. It is important that we provide a forecast to our suppliers into March and April 2022 to help source materials and set schedules. If you are expecting any potential volume increases, it’s critical we know in advance to source alternative materials. Paper availability and prices change daily—the sooner orders are confirmed the sooner we can work with suppliers to ensure delivery of materials.
- Be Flexible: please consider alternate paper stock during this time. Any flexibility will be helpful as certain stock selections may not be available or may have a significant price increase.
- Review: a design review for your direct mail or custom project may uncover areas where you can reduce cost or accommodate supply issues. Also consider the USPS Informed Delivery Promotion where you can save 2% on postage (effective September 1-November 30, 2021).
- Understand Postage: the USPS has recently updated its service standards increasing time-in-transit standards by 1 or 2 days for certain mail that are traveling longer distances. Businesses are asked to plan accordingly.
- Go Digital: OSG has several digital services to supplement your printing needs. Talk to your Account Manager to find the right solution for you.
What is Gabriel Group doing?
- Collaborating with Our Partners: we continue to work through strong relationships with suppliers and distribution partners to get reasonable prices and maintain inventory. We are collecting as much information from our clients as possible to forecast 90-180 days out with our partners where possible.
- Maximizing Our Space: we have begun our annual warehouse cleanup in our facilities. By maximizing space we’ll be prepared to take in inventory as paper becomes available. In the coming weeks you may receive communications regarding your current inventory.
- Optimizing Our Distributed Print Network: we continue to work across our facilities to find efficiencies where it makes the most sense. Daily standup meetings and stock monitoring have been put in place.
- Recruiting and Staffing: we continue to aggressively recruit for open roles and optimize all shifts. Hiring events, sign-on bonuses and a new employee referral program all continue to attract new candidates.
- Digital Engagement: we have boosted our digital offering to include eAdoption programs as well as electronic billing and statement products. eAdoption is a great place to start to connect with your customers on digital channels.
The Account Management Team is working closely with clients to minimize the impact and communicate status on factors impacting our client’s projects. Gabriel Group will continue to work closely with our vendors and partners to ensure inventory and provide alternatives to keep projects on track.
We will continue to provide updates as available. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about going digital, please reach out to EverView here.