Does it seem like mailing kick-off meetings and approval deadlines are coming up earlier and earlier? It’s not your imagination. It’s the paper mills.
The paper industry has experienced all kinds of turmoil lately, fueled by the closing of paper mills, increased trucking costs, and a ramped-up need for shelf-ready packaging.
Consequently, many paper mills are consolidating and producing packaging rather than paper, leading to a decline in the print and writing paper market and a boom in the specialty paper market. This, combined with recent shifts in raw material prices, has changed the marketplace so the paper industry is now calling the shots. With less bargaining power, direct mail vendors are impacted by price increases and longer lead times. Unfortunately, paper prices are forecast to rise throughout 2019.
So we’re taking a proactive approach to protect our clients’ budgets.
In an effort to cut costs wherever possible, we’re kicking off mail campaigns as much as a couple of months earlier than usual, to allow our production partners to aggregate orders and negotiate better pricing. This strategy will help to mitigate the impact of price increases on nonprofits’ marketing programs. The earlier we identify client needs the better, as specific paper types may not be readily available and others may take longer to procure.
Being proactive now will help us stay on top of the market fluctuations and reduce the impact on budgets and schedules, allowing us to meet program needs. We’ll continue to adjust schedules and protocols as we navigate this new normal.