March 28, 2022
By Doug Symington, General Sales Manager
Many customers have been asking these questions: What is happening in the market? Why do I need to confirm specs on my jobs so early? The answer: continued turmoil in the supply chain.
The supply chain challenge is leading to delays in getting board, paper, cover stock, and other assorted material here when we need it. As a result, ship dates must be moved. While many delays are because of material shortage, other challenges include a scarcity of trucks to haul the material, truck driver shortages, blockades, and storms. As one issue is resolved another challenge arises. More detail on the paper market specifically is below from Andrew Fennell who manages our purchasing team.
Here is an example of today’s circumstances compared to history. In any given year we would move less than 100 jobs because of raw material delays. Last year was the worst we experienced (we believe) with 361 date moves by year end. This year at the end of February, we already had 352 ship date moves due to material being delayed. This is uncharted waters for us. The purchasing team has been outstanding at creatively finding alternate solutions where possible. However, when you don’t have all the ingredients, you can’t make the cake.
We don’t see this challenge ending quickly but rest assured it is a focused effort of those involved. If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager or the Sales Management team.
What can you do?
We may need your help in confirming specs and orders early, so a timeframe of 20 weeks in advance is what we would need. Early confirmation gives us the best chance of getting the materials necessary for your job and getting it delivered to you on time. The highlighting of best chance is intentional, because in today’s circumstance it is not a guarantee. There are so many variables that keep changing. Even yesterday as we were trying to create this document a potential labor action from CP intermodal was announced. This may affect paper shipments that were moved from truck to rail to overcome delays caused by the trucking shortage.
This is not a great situation, but we are determined to find solutions where we can and be straightforward in communicating what is going on.