We are anxiously awaiting the printing of STITCHES Memoir of a Trauma Surgeon. However, due to paper shortages, printing has been delayed. The following section of the article by Scott Kravitz explains the reason for the delay.
WHY ARE WE HAVING A PAPER SHORTAGE?
“It’s important to understand the roots of the problem if we’re going to work our way around it. Even before the pandemic, there were issues with the paper industry. Several North American paper mills closed because they simply couldn’t compete while contending with increased labor costs, stricter environmental laws, and older equipment.
To survive, other mills shifted production to higher-margin premium grade or manufactured board stock to feed the growing packaging industry. This left fewer mills to produce printing and writing grade paper (https://blog.ironmarkusa.com/where-has-all-the-paper-gone), and the vacuum caused overseas mills to rush in. At the same time, our growing dependence on just-in-time (JIT) printing also meant that many printers kept lower inventory.
As soon as the pandemic hit, these issues were exacerbated by shut-downs that froze production and shipping and seriously hamstrung the labor market. As businesses reopened several times during the pandemic, the ramp-up was severe. Any inventory was quickly used, and getting the mills back up and running could take up to six months. Then as the world opened back up again, demand exploded. Mills had already cut capacity, so trying to meet surging demand was very difficult.
While still contending with labor shortages, shipping delays, and increased prices, it’s hard for manufacturers (and the rest of us) to keep up. Overseas mills are having the same problems as domestic mills, and costs have skyrocketed. Estimates put the price to move products from Asia at about 3x the pre-pandemic cost (https://marketrealist.com/p/why-is-there-a-paper-shortage/). Printers said their costs have increased exponentially over the past year. And it’s affecting all paper types. Whereas coated stock was the issue earlier, now every type of finish is expensive and hard to find, including cover stock and uncoated paper. Printers are receiving shorted orders since there is not enough inventory to ship. We are still in the middle of the shortage, and inventory is shifting daily.”
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