Diversified Labeling Solutions CEO Jim Kersten Talks Paper Shortage, Label Demand and More
The trickle-down effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt acutely in the print and promo industry. From safety regulations and supply chain fractures to inflation and staff exoduses, there’s been no shortage of headaches. But for members of the print industry, the ongoing paper shortage may arguably be the biggest pain of them all. Nobody knows when relief will come, though experts agree it won’t be this year.
Print suppliers, who were already facing allocations on most raw materials, are feeling additional pressure due to a strike, that began Jan. 1, 2022, at UPM’s Finnish mill. It’s just one paper mill, you may be thinking … so, why is that important? It matters because UPM Finland is a global provider of label materials that produces 3.7 million tons of paper pulp each year, and there is no date for when production will resume — or, in this case, start. This exacerbates paper inventories that were already depleted from last year’s supply and demand imbalance.
“The UPM Finland strike is just starting to ripple through the U.S. market,” said James Cirigliano, vice president of marketing for Diversified Labeling Solutions, Itasca, Illinois. “It takes nine weeks for the containers to arrive, and with the strike starting at the end of December, shortages are just starting for liner and semi-gloss stock. This will keep lead times long.”
Cirigliano was part of a supplier panel, consisting of seven print and promo suppliers specializing in different product categories, for Print+Promo Marketing’s 2022 State of the Industry report. The full results, which can be found here, tell an interesting story with many plot twists. We wanted to continue the conversation, and that’s exactly what we did.
Jim Kersten, CEO of Diversified Labeling Solutions, joined the latest edition of The Promo Marketing Podcast to get us caught up and offer advice to distributors as they navigate the paper crisis. He also discussed bright spots in the fast-growing labels market, effective hiring strategies for hard-to-fill positions and more.
Check out the podcast here.
Read the full 2022 State of the Industry report here for more on the print and promo supply chain, as well as an overview of the economic and legislative factors to watch this year and beyond (and much more).
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.