I don’t think it’s at all hyperbolic or an overstatement to make this claim. Covid truly affected every aspect of the packaging industry, creating a multitude of new challenges for both suppliers and buyers of custom packaging in 2020 and the years that followed. A spike in demand, coupled with a multitude of supply hurdles created a perfect storm of sorts. But now, almost 3 full years removed from the start of the pandemic, many of those challenges have diminished or disappeared entirely, and the industry has made a “full recovery”, so to speak, leaving you, the buyer, in the best possible position in 2023 to take advantage.
2020, 2021 and 2022 were years of unprecedented price increases across the corrugated industry. The booming demand and supply issues/challenges meant staggering price increases that seemed like they would just keep coming with no end in sight. Well, we’ve finally reached the end of the increases as of last Spring, and now multiple recent price decreases are the first signs that things are starting to normalize, along with the prospect of potential future decreases still to come. If you’ve waited until 2023 to be a first-time packaging buyer, or to put in that long-awaited reorder, you’re buying at a discount. Read more about the recent price decrease in this blog post link.
Shorter/Reduced Lead Times
Across nearly every product we sell, we’ve seen a decrease in lead times. Custom paper mailer envelopes have fallen from peaks of 6-8 weeks, down to as low as 2-3 weeks in some cases. Custom printed boxes reached as long as 4-5 weeks or beyond during the height of the pandemic, and now have scaled back to a standard 2-3 weeks. Paper board and rigid boxes have seen lead time reductions as well. This is due to the combination of increased board availability, as well as the repair of the national supply chain. Decreased demand has also meant more machine availability, coupled with the fact that plants, for the most part, are able to function at full capacity most of the time without the risk of covid shutting them down for days or weeks due to outbreaks of illness.
Designer Time and Availability
We are well known for our structural design capabilities, but the pandemic did create a backlog of customers wanting design work that added to overall lead times and delays in creating and sending samples. We are much better suited today to accommodate these needs. Not only are we coming out of a pandemic, we are also now removed from the holiday/peak-packaging season.
Improved Freight/Transit/Logistics in the Industry
It was getting downright scary for a while, as we saw freight costs continue to climb to frankly, astronomical levels over the last few years. Covid-related layoffs, illnesses and driver and equipment shortages meant that you were paying a premium for every shipment, and delays were not only possible, but expected. A 2-3 day transit time became 4-6 days. However, in the last 6 months, we’ve seen these prices stabilize, level-off and the delays have largely diminished. The trend is moving in the right direction!
We know that the past few years created many challenges for all of our customers. We were here to help where we could, with tools and resources such as this blog to share ways in which customers could find cost savings and navigate the turmoil. If you are a first-time packaging buyer, give us a call and see how we can help you on your journey.
Please Contact Us Today
As always, if you have any questions, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Want to know more about custom packaging options? Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at www.SalazarPackaging.com.