If you experienced a delay getting paper in 2018, you certainly weren’t alone. While we do everything possible to help you access the paper you need quickly and affordably, the paper market has left the SeaChange team and marketers throughout the country with some challenges. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Supply vs. Demand. Paper use has been in decline about 2-3% per year, which meant mills could produce more paper than was needed. Because of this overcapacity, several large mills shut down, took machines offline, or started producing different products.1 So we went from an oversupply to a 47% drop in coated paper capacity from 2000 to 2018.2 
  • The paper industry, like other industries, has faced increased costs related to transportation. This is due to driver shortages, fuel costs and increased regulations.3,4
  • Material costs. Pulp pricing has increased, and raw material costs are up 32%.3,4
  • Tariffs between the U.S. and Canada, even though they have since been lifted, impacted paper costs.5
Together, these scenarios created a tight market, increasing prices and creating delays. Of course, we’re working hard to keep on top of the situation and reduce the impact it has on our clients’ projects. While we’ll certainly reach out with specific suggestions, overall we recommend these tips:

Plan ahead. We understand that some print projects pop up at the last minute. But for those you know about months in advance, we can collaborate to see if pre-ordering paper makes sense. Pre-ordering can help ensure the paper is available when you need it and – if we can predict short-term pricing trends – we may even see opportunities to save money.

Have a back-up plan. If you run into trouble getting a specific paper, look to other sources for similar options. Your SeaChange rep can offer suggestions that will make your projects look great and help you avoid delays.

Use fulfillment and online ordering tools. If you have repeat programs, such as a direct mail campaign that mails monthly, consider producing the materials in bulk and then finishing and storing them at our fulfillment center. Our GATHER online tool makes it easy to upload your data list, request product, and get it mailed.

Have questions about what the tight paper market means for your projects? Let's connect and start the conversation. 

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Article by SeaChange