Supply vs. DemandSupply Shortage Update

Buckle up, folks. I’m about to take you on an emotional rollercoaster in this supply shortage update blog.

The good news:

We finally received some envelopes from our supplier! I’m sure you’ve noticed the bright orange banner on the home screen of your Postalocity account alerting you to supply shortages and what we’re doing to be proactive about it (read more here.)

Something I pride myself and my company on is our transparent communication with our clients. I’m not one to sugar coat things, and I think most of you appreciate that. So, let’s talk big facts.

Big Facts:

I’m not going to give us an “all clear”, but I am going to give us a sort of/kind of/maybe-for-a-minute “all clear”. We’ve received a large portion of our envelope order. That means your jobs won’t be forced into a windowed envelope…. for now.

Word on the Street:

According to the top sources of paper in the US, at least through 2023, but likely longer, things will be incredibly tricky. We all need to be flexible, be open to new and innovative ideas, and most importantly, be patient.

We’re only receiving paper from domestic mills as opposed to having access to any manufacturer around the globe like we did pre-pandemic. Because of this, our domestic mills are quickly depleting. Our envelope manufacturers are experiencing the exact same supply issues as we are. So much so, they can’t even give us turnaround times for envelope orders.

What We Can Collectively Do to Make this Easier:

  • Choosing standard sizes. For Postalocity, this only potentially affects our legal sized paper offering. Letter sized paper is the size the paper mills are focused on producing. So, aim for mailing more letter sized documents. It seems to be far easier to order in bulk, and bonus, it’s less expensive per piece for you.
  • Choosing standard weights. While Postalocity doesn’t offer a variety of weights, our quality baseline has always been 60# paper. We haven’t had to move this baseline yet, and I actually don’t foresee us having to, but is it out of the realm of possibilities? Ha. Nothing is these days. So be flexible to the idea of using other weights of paper as we get through this together. Our ultimate goal will always be to shield you from big adjustments in expectations, but your understanding if it happens would mean the world to us.
  • Choosing white paper versus colored paper. Most of our paper suppliers have all but laughed in our faces when we’ve attempted to order popular colors like pink, blue, and canary yellow. It’s just not on the table right now. We will offer it for as long as our inventory will support it.
  • Forecasting and planning further in advance and then communicating those needs. For Postalocity, forecasting has never been more important. What went from just over one week to get an envelope or paper order delivered, we’re now averaging 40 business days for an order to arrive. If you can forecast your mailing needs, especially an uptick in volumes, it is imperative that you communicate these needs to us as far in advance as possible. If we know your upcoming needs, we can support you.

What can fix this?

More supply or less demand. What a conundrum, huh?

‘More supply’ means imported paper needs an easier way into the United States (spoiler alert: that isn’t going to happen). There aren’t any new paper mills being built, but even if there were, it can take years to bring one to a fully productive mill.

‘Less demand’ is almost as silly. This can only occur if the demand for paper diminishes enough for our mills and suppliers to replenish their inventories back to pre-pandemic volumes.

I don’t mean to be a negative nelly. I’m just shootin’ ya straight. The biggest takeaway, I hope, is this: We’re all going to be okay. We’re going to get through this together. And I bet at the end of it, we’ll all be stronger, smarter, and WAY more flexible than we ever thought possible. If you have questions, ideas, concerns, or just need a pep talk, give us a shout. We’re here for it!

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