As we closed the doors on another tumultuous year, 2021 brought never seen before events which had a market-wide impact on raw material, paper, transportation, supplies and services.
We expect this period of rapid change to continue through 2022, as the print industry adapts to changing consumer demands and ongoing economic fluctuations. As I stated in the last communication, we have great relationships with our vendors, we have paper, and are still receiving paper – the situation is fluid – it is just taking more effort and time to secure some specific stocks.
Demand continues to be higher than normal; the mills are still operating at full capacity with higher raw material costs. We are still feeling ripples downstream with minor disruptions to supply chain or production processes and pricing has been raised 4-6 times this past year alone! Even with 34 years under our belt we have NEVER experienced this before.
What does this mean for your printing needs into 2022, and how can NextPage support you?
- Flexibility — Buyers will be successful if they are flexible on their stock choice. There are some stocks we simply may not be able to attain on your behalf at this time.
- Prior Planning – It is important that you connect with us and advise us of your plans for the first and second quarter as soon as possible. We will work to secure the raw materials in advance and help you understand the budget impact on your efforts.
- Budgets – In over 30 years we have experienced relatively minor change in paper pricing. As referenced above, 2021 brought us four rounds of pricing increases on all paper grades. Each increase has been from 4-9 percent. In addition, we have seen increases on all other elements that create a printed product; glue, inks, transportation, boxes, and even stitching wire. The result is approximately an increase of 5-8% on the total of any printing order.
- Communication – We have always believed that communication was at the core of a successful relationship. Our commitment is to be upfront and clear about what we know, when we know it. We will do our best to over-communicate with you. We ask that you do the same with us.
- Estimates & Pricing – Any estimate that we provide is only valid for 7 days. If you are asking us to provide you a budget for work to be done months later, we will work with you to ensure proper planning.
- Postage Increase – USPS typically increases rates for letter mail in January, that increase is expected in July 2022. There will be a price increase for USPS Shipping Services that takes effect January 9, 2022. Services are increasing approximately 3.1% for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express service. U.S. Postal Service Announces New Competitive Prices and Two New Mail Products for 2022
- Staffing Levels and COVID Illness– NextPage maintains a highly skilled and committed workforce. Our team is committed to care for our clients so we can take care of our families. As many businesses have experienced, one case of COVID in an organization can result in numerous team members being out on quarantine. We take all appropriate precautions in our facilities.
In addition, finding talent is a struggle for all types of companies. Recruiting talent takes more time. As we have ramped our business to pre-pandemic levels, our staffing is only slightly behind. Our team is committed to working as needed to meet our client commitments, however, with the risk of COVID outbreaks we may ask for your understanding on certain time commitments. Communication around deadlines is critical.
- Commitments Count – NextPage makes commitments to our suppliers so that we can deliver for our clients. We value the commitments you are able to make to us. Placing your project/order with NextPage now will help ensure we are able to meet your needs later. We have flexible options for your consideration.
If you have regularly produced a project during the first or second quarter of years, we are working to plan our allocation accordingly and are partnering with the mills and paper merchants to secure the needed raw materials for those orders. If something new pops up, we will work to accommodate every request.
Finally, I can’t reinforce enough that COMMUNICATION is key. Please let us know well in advance of your goals and plans. The NextPage team will move heaven and earth to try and accommodate every request.
Here’s to a very successful 2022!
Gina M. Danner, CEO