We’re Making Better Happen with Unsurpassed Supply Chain Management

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About the Author

Ken McDonald

Ken McDonald

Ken leads a team that is focused on making IWCO’s Supply Chain program a driver of competitive advantage for clients. As Chief Supply Chain Officer, he works to find new ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and generate value. His background includes more than 30 years of experience, including a long tenure at UnitedHealth Group, successfully executing best practices in sourcing, contracting, supplier performance and risk management, and enterprise logistics and transportation. Outside of the office you can find him golfing, skiing, bicycling, hiking, traveling, or volunteering in his community.

The focus on supply chains has been unwavering since the start of the pandemic. However, the challenges are no longer only about meeting demand. Today, with signs pointing toward a slowdown of the economy, demand is tightening, and the role of supply chains is changing to become more strategic than ever before. Invariably, an estimated 50% to 75% of the cost of doing business is influenced directly by supply chains. So how can businesses ensure they will have the materials needed to successfully carry out their marketing plans? 

The Right Materials, at the Right Time, at a Competitive Price 

At IWCO, our Supply Chain team is focused on ensuring we have the right materials, at the right time, at a competitive price, to align with customer expectations. We’ve achieved this by expanding our supplier network, strengthening supplier relationships, and improving visibility and flexibility through structured demand planning activities. IWCO’s leadership team continually evaluates demand as well as current and forecasted costs—spanning procurement, transportation, production, and inventory―utilizing data analytics to manage performance and reduce unnecessary costs. 

It’s All About Strategic Planning 

As my colleague, Diana Hvistendahl, shared in a recent blog, IWCO’s Strategic Plan is Making Better Happen for ourselves and our clients. Our supply chain resilience requires ongoing strategic planning. We continually monitor external market fluctuations, and regularly evaluate our supplier partnerships to align with changing customer expectations and our long-term business strategy. This is achieved through assessment of supply risks, increased end-to-end collaboration with supply networks, and a focus on diversification across our supply chain. Our keen internal focus on visibility to client forecasts, optimization of IWCO’s production platform, and ongoing continuous improvement driven by Kaizen and 5S efforts, is another way we’re Making Better Happen.   

Ready to Meet Our Clients’ Needs in a Changing Market 

In 2022, the print industry experienced rising costs for materials, transportation, and labor, coupled with market-wide demand increases, which resulted in paper stocks being in short supply. Early in 2023, there are signs of improvement. As printers are depleting paper inventories, and North American and international mills have worked through supply and labor issues and now offer improved availability of coated and uncoated paper stocks in the market.  

The global pulp and paper market size was valued at USD 351.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to surpass around USD 380.12 billion by 2030, poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% from 2022 to 2030. At IWCO, we continue to work with our paper suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and other supply partners to identify the most optimal paper stocks in order to deliver the best quality, performance, and cost efficiencies for our clients. We constantly monitor market conditions, balancing this with client demand, while collaborating with our supplier partners to ensure continual supply. We efficiently leverage our size and scale to lock-in cost competitive pricing.  

Put Your Marketing Needs in the Hands of the Experts 

Over time, supply chains have become more complex as companies pursued competitive advantage and cost efficiencies. In recent years, the wave of headwinds has tested the limits of supply chain strategies, which historically prioritized moderate inventory levels and short supplier lead times. As global market uncertainties and disruptions continue to put pressure on supply chains, printers—more recently tasked with navigating bottlenecks and material shortages—are now facing demand fluctuations, price uncertainty, and increased cost pressures. At IWCO, our market experience and expertise has positioned us to quickly address these ever-changing market conditions. This, combined with our best-in-class supplier partners, has prepared us to deliver on all our clients needs.     

Want to learn more about how IWCO can meet your businesses’ marketing supply chain needs? Contact us. We’re here to help. 

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