Board Converting News, November 22, 2021

Supply Chain Snarl-Up: The State Of Play For The Paper Industry BY DEAN COROBOLOTTI The current supply chain bottlenecks are among the worst the industry has ever seen. And virtually no business sec-

As we move towards the hectic year-end period and try to navigate the existing supply chain environment, now is the time for the paper and pulp industries to examine the current state of play and what it can do to rectify issues and hopefully expedite a quick recovery. Here are a few considerations that can prove beneficial for shippers throughout the paper and pulp industries. Labor Shortages Impair Shipping Efficiency For all the headlines around containers piling up and back-ups at warehouses, one of the issues flying some- what under the radar during this supply chain crunch is the labor shortage. Simply put, there just isn’t enough labor in the manufacturing process or at third-party warehouse locations to enable the quick manufacturing, loading and unloading of products. In addition to the delays that labor shortages are causing, dock delays are resulting in ship- pers falling afoul of OTD promises, which is leading to de- tention fees and other financial penalties. Retooling Causes Hiccups And Delays

tor has been left untouched -- including in paper and pulp. From sourcing chal- lenges to procurement, the paper and pulp industries have been on the front- lines of the supply chain’s woes since the beginning of the COVID pandemic nearly two years ago. And unfortunate-

Dean Corobolotti

ly, any optimism that may have existed within the space for a timely return to normalcy in time for 2022 has been pegged back as the entire supply chain logjams continue to persist -- and even intensify.


Due to the ongoing demand, paper ship- pers have been forced to make hard strategic decisions, ranging from altering sustainability targets to outright cancelling orders. Fortu- nately however, many paper companies have been able to offset some challenges they face by retooling existing machinery to help boost productivity. For example, tools that may have been previously allocated to handle advertis- ing and print have now been shifted over to packaging production. While this has helped paper companies address some concerns, it has put additional strains on capital that’s al- ready stretched due to the COVID pandemic. Transportation Remains A Foremost Issue Much like every industry, paper and pulp is also feeling the effects of the transporta- tion crunch. And while trying to find capacity is proving to be incredibly challenging, a lack of available capacity at the right time is re- sulting in some of the highest transportation costs we have ever seen, with prices jumping anywhere between 25 and 50 percent. And given the financial stress that many paper and pulp companies are experiencing, it’s not sur- prising to see that many are beginning to lean more heavily into technology as a way to help them both optimize their procurement opera- tions and uncover hidden value that may exist. November and December 2021 are shap- ing up to be two of the most frenetic months that paper shippers have ever seen. But by continuing to think outside of the box and looking to adopt more innovative solutions, paper shippers can successfully navigate this challenging period and achieve success. Dean Corobolotti is VP of Managed Ser- vices, Sleek Technologies.

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November 22, 2021

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