At Graphic Communications, we are committed to the promises we have made to our customers – 1. Colors Consistency; 2. Reliable Quality; and 3. On-Time Delivery.
The bad news – The world-wide supply chain challenges continue to affect production.
The good news – We have found ways to mitigate the challenges so that we can continue to fulfill our promises to our customers!
The pandemic may be nearly over, but the residual effects are still running rampant throughout the U.S. and the world. Businesses are continuing to struggle with supply chain issues which are creating a ripple effect within different industries. Unfortunately, the printing and labeling industry is no stranger to these problems and is still facing several challenges that affect operations.
Challenge #1- Date of Delivery
Dates seem to be fluid as suppliers are unsure of when they will be able to deliver products. This makes planning a challenge because there is no guarantee on when supplies or materials will be received. Often, suppliers will give delivery dates that are far into the future with the hope that the product will show up earlier than expected. There is a general fear of committing to any specific date and then having to disappoint customers.
Challenge #2- Cost of Goods
The cost of supplies and materials have increased exponentially. We have seen the prices rise 6-8 times since January of 2021. With inflation having no immediate end in sight, we don’t see this changing anytime soon.
Challenge #3- Allocation of Orders
Some suppliers have even begun allocating orders, meaning companies can only buy a certain percentage of what they purchased the previous year. This is an attempt to keep people happy by having something to offer everyone so that one organization doesn’t monopolize supplies. There are even some suppliers that are not taking orders for new products or customers so that they can honor existing patrons.
No matter the challenge, we are doing our best to mitigate these supply chain issues and still offer reliable quality service. Like several other companies, we have had to make some changes to the way we do things in order to adapt to the economy and our current way of living.
Combating the Challenges
It is very important that we keep a close eye on our inventory since supplies are not coming in regularly like before. We have made it a habit to meet every morning and review the orders we have and the supplies that are on hand. We also have an Enterprise Resource Planning system that tracks our inventory and helps to keep us organized.
If we do not have the correct materials or the right amount for a customer order, we do our best to offer additional options by suggesting alternative labeling or packaging that is comparable to the original request. We may also recommend phasing product distribution by delivering smaller batches over time instead of mass production.
Another solution we have if our materials don’t meet size requirements, or are unattainable, is offering customers a different method of printing. Digital printing consists of printing electronically directly onto the material or label, whereas Flexographic printing transfers ink from a printing plate before putting it on any packaging. While Flexographic is the more traditional method of printing, it all comes down to what material is being used. Each printing option has its own set of criteria.
Is there an end in sight?
Based on the market and what we are hearing, we hope that the supply change challenges will ease by the spring or summer of 2023. Until then, we will do our best to work with each customer and try to find a customized solution to any complications that occur. Regardless of when these constraints end, Graphic Communications will remain committed to keeping The GCI Promise – Color Consistency, Reliable Quality, and On-Time Delivery!