Paper Shortage

GiddyUp

New member
The current paper shortage has become a real problem. I am wondering how the rest of you are getting along & dealing with this current situation. Are you buying direct from the mills? Any help regarding the ability to procure paper would be greatly appreciated. We are a print shop in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have some paper still, but it is hit & miss.

Thank you.

Andy
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
It’s hit or miss here on the East Coast too. I’m just a small shop but it’s not looking good at all. I try to send some jobs out to trade shops just in the hope of holding on to some stock for some of my good customers. Coated stock is about nil for everything at paper distributor.

The story about the mills in Italy shutting down due to energy costs is another reminder that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Chorus Art by Burgo is one of the digital sheets that I use and it’s made in Italy. So they were helping to fill a need for paper here in the USA, not any longer. And it must be terrible for the shops in Italy to keep the doors open.

I’m letting some customers know that they need to change the size of their whatever so I can get more out of a sheet or I can’t print the run size they need.

Not sure what the next step is but if anyone has some good ideas PLEASE share them.
 
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GiddyUp

New member
I think this will be an ongoing problem for the rest of the year. I have heard that two very large mills are being converted from fine sheets to board paper to accommodate the shift to packaging. Does anyone have experience with paper co-ops? I've heard of this before & being able to deal directly with the mills with pricing power, instead of these paper companies having you by the short hairs would be welcome.

Andy
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
I think this will be an ongoing problem for the rest of the year. I have heard that two very large mills are being converted from fine sheets to board paper to accommodate the shift to packaging. Does anyone have experience with paper co-ops? I've heard of this before & being able to deal directly with the mills with pricing power, instead of these paper companies having you by the short hairs would be welcome.

Andy
I got a email yesterday from a trade printer that said pricing would be rising due to several reasons but one was that mills would no longer extend the same volume discounts as in the past because of high demand. So I guess order 10 pallets of 100 and it's the same price per M. The paper co-op sounds like a good idea but perhaps they wouldn't extend any volume discounts worth much.
 

kslight

Well-known member
If you weren’t buying direct from the mills before the pandemic you probably won’t be able to now. Most paper vendors are not taking new customers, and mills are only allocating so much to each vendor.

I have experienced the same shortages as everyone else, but I feel like I have been luckier because we use a much smaller paper vendor, instead of relying on the big dog that everyone else in the country uses. Still, sometimes I have to call around, I have 2 local vendors I use and a handful of online vendors I reach out to…usually can make something work, even if not exactly what the customer wants. I do think our small time paper vendor works hard to keep us stocked, i do not think they are untruthful or “holding us by the short hairs. “

I also get the impression that we have been getting more work because customers are being turned away or given extraordinary turnaround times by our competitors, our volume has been unusually high (we are not at all a large printer…typically big non variable stuff got sent out…we’ve only got one digital press and one person running it on one shift).
 

AP90

Well-known member
I feel like we have been pretty lucky so far getting paper. We're in the midwest and do about 150-200k clicks/month on 1 press. We have been fortunate that we have been able to get stock in. Actually have 3 pallets of coated paper arriving to our shop tomorrow for a large job we run. But ill give it up to our local paper guy. He's taken some heat to get us the paper we need to keep running big jobs. Most small jobs we do haven't been a problem getting paper for and we just substitute out as needed to whatever paper we have available.
 

SoggyWinter

Well-known member
The current paper shortage has become a real problem. I am wondering how the rest of you are getting along & dealing with this current situation. Are you buying direct from the mills? Any help regarding the ability to procure paper would be greatly appreciated. We are a print shop in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have some paper still, but it is hit & miss.

Thank you.

Andy
Try WCP out of Seattle. They have been doing an ok job of having SKUs that I need.
 

SoggyWinter

Well-known member
Wow, that's very bad!

Does anyone know if the wide format industry is suffering equivalent shortages (paper, vinyl, textiles)? Just wondering because at some point I need to determine how much I pivot from digital cut sheet printing.
signs101.com is a good resource for wide format situational awareness. I have not had major issues getting wide format vinyl from Grimco, but I'm a really small shop.
 

DYP

Well-known member
Got the allocation email from our paper supplier today. No more than 75% of what we got a year ago.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
Too bad we don't live in a country with lots of wooded areas with trees. Then we could make paper domestically.
 

Shawnd

Well-known member
You just have to be creative. We took an area that housed our sales reps and made them remote and now use that area to stock paper and envelopes so it is climate controlled.
 

IgnoreThem

Active member
Our headache is digital ready window envelopes, all sizes. currently use a Xante Impressia. Almost to the point I will need to pickup an inkjet envelope printer to keep current customers and pickup new. Hate turning people away just because I can't find a product.
 

DYP

Well-known member
You just have to be creative. We took an area that housed our sales reps and made them remote and now use that area to stock paper and envelopes so it is climate controlled.
That hilarious. Doesn't take much space for paper and envelopes you can't get.
 

Shawnd

Well-known member
I can get paper, I just have to put it on back order and wait for it to come in. Needed somewhere to store the paper/envelopes I can get in for future scheduled jobs. You would be surprised how much space sales people take up :ROFLMAO:
 

kslight

Well-known member
I can get paper, I just have to put it on back order and wait for it to come in. Needed somewhere to store the paper/envelopes I can get in for future scheduled jobs. You would be surprised how much space sales people take up :ROFLMAO:
No vendor I work with is allowing paper backorders, so I’m talking to my rep just about daily.
 

Dmiller35

Active member
No vendor I work with is allowing paper backorders, so I’m talking to my rep just about daily.
That sucks. We've been allowed to do that for certain things with one of our distributors. Really just depends on what mill it's coming from as some mills have placed the distributors on a moratorium. As the paper buyer for our shop, It's really been driving me crazy. We just lost out on a large postcard job because we couldn't paper. Luckily, the vendor that did have paper doesn't mail, so at least we're getting that portion of it. Would have been nice to get the print job too though.
 

kslight

Well-known member
That sucks. We've been allowed to do that for certain things with one of our distributors. Really just depends on what mill it's coming from as some mills have placed the distributors on a moratorium. As the paper buyer for our shop, It's really been driving me crazy. We just lost out on a large postcard job because we couldn't paper. Luckily, the vendor that did have paper doesn't mail, so at least we're getting that portion of it. Would have been nice to get the print job too though.
I am also our paper buyer (and everything else, it seems…), anymore that process sometimes eats up a quarter of the day. So far we have not lost a bid due to paper, we’ve been able to guide towards substitutions or find alternative (expensive) sources. We are a small printer (supporting our main business but also doing print only clients), but this year it seems like a dozen times so far I’ve had to buy a skid of cut size or parent size (whatever is available) just to make sure we have the stock for large / ongoing projects in the months ahead. I know that’s small potatoes for the larger printers out there, but it’s a lot of paper for our volume and a ton of money / space tied up in paper.
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
just FYI FWIW...

I'm in Denver and am an in-house printer for my company, so we don't have the need or space to order from a mill, not even from the large distributors in town. We order from a small distributor and they ran out of 11x17 20,24, and 28#.

I had to order some through amazon. Which was not good because the boxes and reams came damaged. The paper was fine, but the reams split. So, I would only order from amazon as last resort.
 

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