It has now officially been more than two years since the pandemic first brought shipping lanes to a standstill in early 2020. And yet, supply chain issues continue to be an ongoing frustration. Printing companies, in particular, are facing extreme challenges as print clients maintain heavy demand while vital components like ink, paper, various press components, and even quality employees are hard to find. 

Why Hasn’t the Supply Chain Caught Up Yet?

There are multiple factors causing problems for the print industry supply chain.

The first is Production & Inventory Management. 

Under normal conditions, printing supplies are a fairly stable market. One company may win a large project or account away from another, but the substrate, ink, and presses to complete that work are not essentially different from what was already in the market. This meant suppliers very rarely had to ramp up production to meet a huge increase in demand. 

However, when the pandemic struck, a sizable portion of the print industry saw a dramatic decline in the size and frequency of print runs. Orders for print supplies were reduced or canceled, and manufacturers adjusted their production downward as well. For many months, print companies and print supply manufacturers relied upon back stock and existing inventory to fulfill orders.

For others in the industry, the huge consumer shift to online shopping and fulfillment forced many retailers (particularly those in food and beverage) to rethink or completely redesign packaging to make it more suitable for transit. This meant a huge increase in demand, particularly for flexographic printing, at the same time that production of those supplies was already stretched.

Now, back-up resources are spent, and because suppliers have never been set up for a dramatic increase in new production, they cannot simply scale-up the speed, frequency, or size of their production runs to catch up. They have to try and fulfill as many orders as they can with the production methods they have available. It will likely still be several more months before the supply chain returns to “normal” delivery times.

The next challenge facing the print industry is Understaffed Pressrooms. While some larger printing companies were able to get by during the pandemic, hundreds of smaller and mid-sized businesses were forced to cut back hours or permanently layoff staff. Now, many of those employees have either moved to other print businesses or they’ve left the industry altogether for different jobs.

This has left the industry with fewer people available to serve the same (or even larger) markets as before. More work for everyone is usually a great problem, but it also means more competition for the same available set of materials and resources.

A third element causing “perfect storm” scenarios for print companies is Increased Client Demand. If it seems like everyone wants something printed right now, it’s because they do. Companies are eager to return to pre-pandemic revenue – and that takes any number of printed materials. Of course, they all need it “yesterday,” which means there simply aren’t enough supplies in the supply chain to satisfy everyone who needs print goods right now. Any time demand outpaces supply, prices go up. Sometimes this means that those willing to pay a premium for goods end up at the front of the distribution line. Other times, it means prices go up for everyone and orders continue to be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis – but at today’s longer-than-usual delivery schedule.

So, How Can Daetwyler Help?

We’re glad you asked. One way is knowing that Daetwyler controls its own supply line. As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), we have been able to adjust our inventory and production to continue to meet client needs. The same can be said for our partner brands like Sandon Global for anilox solutions, LaserClean, DW Renzmann cleaning equipment, and others. 

More importantly, Daetywler can help you make the best use of the resources you have right now by minimizing waste, downtime, poor-quality print runs, and equipment failures. If you can make your white ink inventory last longer, a four-week to six-week wait time for a new order of ink doesn’t do as much harm to your bottom line.

This is a time to make sure your operation is getting things done right the first time, with the most efficient use of materials as possible. That’s where Daetwyler’s expertise is unmatched. Here’s how you can take advantage of it for yourself: 

1. Get in touch with us and ask for a Pressroom Audit. 

2. Ask us for a test demonstration of a specific solution.

3. Still not sure where to get started? Just give us a call and tell us what your biggest challenge is. Our experts will apply their decades of experience towards finding the answer you need.