Supply Chain Problems in the Label Industry


Are you experiencing supply chain problems with your label suppliers? It’s a major concern because if your products do not have labels, your products do not ship.

Being in this industry for over 35 years, I have never seen anything like it.

Those of us in the label printing industry are being pushed hard with longer lead times and production schedules along with limited allocation on certain label stocks.  What used to be a very consistent delivery process has now become a very challenging experience.   It is almost like when you have an accident on the highway, everyone who passes slows down to rubberneck, which causes a delay for miles, very frustrating.  Below is information I received from one of my suppliers that I wanted to share. I’ve also explained how PaladinID is handling the situation for our customers so they aren’t feeling so much pain.

Here are just some of the current supply chain problems:

  • Label Stock:  All of the major raw material suppliers have record backlogs for orders. This, on top of a shortage of supplies to them, continues to push out lead times to a week or more for stock material and as long as a month for specialty items. This includes paper, film, and overlaminate materials. One of our suppliers, Spinnaker, did a nice job summarizing the supply chain issues affecting their business. I thought I would share it with you to help you better understand the underlying issues.  Please see their supplier letter.
  • Production Supplies:  Cores, cartons, shrink wrap, plastic bags, stretch wrap, banding material, pallets, etc. are all in tight supply. Again, these manufacturers are having difficulty getting the raw materials they need for their products.
  • Ink:  Base inks are starting to experience delays.  Specialty inks and varnishes are becoming more difficult to get. We are growing concerned about the availability of fluorescent inks right now as key components are not readily available to our ink suppliers. We are researching additional options for fluorescent inks.
  • Freight:  We continue to see issues with both incoming and outgoing freight. There are clearly challenges in the freight market, which are extending delivery lead times. Between the large increase in shipping needs and a shortage of trucks and drivers, the reliability of freight companies has diminished significantly.
  • Delivery Times:  You should plan on a minimum of three to four weeks for custom flexo products, six weeks for specialty materials, and five to seven workdays for short-run digital work. We have added shifts, employees, and purchased new equipment; all of which add capacity. However, order volumes remain quite large and, when combined with raw material supply issues, have increased our lead times. We are working hard to reduce them, but for now, the extended lead times will continue to exist well into Q3 of this year.
  • Price Increases:  As you have already seen, inflation is occurring in many commodities, including the ones we utilize to produce labels for you and your customers. Just recently, both paper and film label stock have gone up from 5% to over 9%. Also, over the past few months, packaging supplies have had multiple increases ranging from 12% to over 24%. With inflation invading all product sectors, we would not be surprised to see raw material costs increase again later this year.

What you can you do about supply chain problems?

  • Get started early in the process.  It all starts with the quoting process.
  • Plan your ordering out for three to six months.
  • Keep a watchful eye on inventory.

What is PaladinID doing and how can we help?

  • Our network includes over 150 printing presses in ten states, giving you the capacity you need when you need it.
  • We are a member of one of the largest buying power groups in the country.
  • We work directly with you to find a solution to your label needs, from moving work to a different plant or finding an alternate label material.
  • Give us a call and tell us what you need.  PaladinID, “Man Of The Hour”

Pick up the phone and contact PaladinID today. Send us an email or give us a call at 888.972.5234.

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About PaladinID, LLC
PaladinID develops and supports high-performance barcode labeling applications. We work with our clients to “Make Your Mark” by providing the expertise and tools necessary to create an entire product label printing solution. Located in central New Hampshire, PaladinID has been serving Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New England, and beyond for over 30 years, and in 2017, became an RFID-certified company. We look forward to working with you.

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