2018 has been a difficult year for the paper market and those who rely on it to support their business. For those in the direct mail marketing industry, here are just some of the challenges faced this past year in order to maintain supply volumes for our clients:
- Longer lead times
- Allocations and limited availability
- Truck driver shortages
- Continued rising costs for paper manufacturers due to pulp, chemicals, freight, labor, energy, etc.
We’re proud to say that, despite this adversity, IWCO Direct worked successfully with our suppliers and clients to navigate the tight supply conditions. For example, when clients could provide us with a reasonable projection of their mailing quantities in advance, we were able to combine the projections received from our key clients, provide anticipated volumes to our supply partners, and secure the needed deliveries. Through consistency, continued planning, and identifying timing of volumes and products needed, our suppliers successfully managed capacity and mix to meet client demands.
Paper Market Conditions for 2019
Paper supply conditions are expected to continue to be a challenge in 2019, but we do anticipate moderate stabilization in pricing.
Looking ahead, the outlook for the paper market is expected to be less volatile in 2019. We continue to monitor the rising input costs and remain transparent with both clients and suppliers on the market conditions. The best strategy for clients in 2019 is to continue updating their annual projections quarterly, so our suppliers can respond to the frequency and volume needs.
Indicators for 2019 also include some stabilization of pricing. Mill inventory levels are at their lowest in years, and the tight market conditions will probably continue into 2020. It will be important for us to maintain awareness of any changes in paper requirements for our clients’ programs to avoid interruptions.
Direct mail continues to be a focus for paper manufacturers and suppliers are committed to supporting our industry. Accurate projections, well in advance of mailings, are key to ensuring that needs are met. With that in place, it’s bound to be (good) business as usual for IWCO Direct and our clients.
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