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Industry Update: How We Can Work Together To Lessen The Impact of Industry-Wide Delays and Shortages

Posted On: 
October 20, 2021
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As you are fully aware by this point, our industry is in the midst of navigating through a tumultuous and unpredictable time. We all continue to feel the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and as your trusted partner and industry resource it is our top priority to keep you informed of the challenges we are currently facing. Between supply chain disruptions, raw material shortages, supplier price increases and so much more, there are a lot of outside factors currently putting significant pressure on product availability and lead times. 

We are all experiencing this in different ways in our own businesses, and the most important thing we can do is maintain open, transparent communication with you. In that spirit, we have provided an outline below of the top supply chain and manufacturing challenges we are currently up against and how we can work together to mitigate their impact on your operations. 

Raw Material Shortages

Due to extreme supply/demand imbalances in raw materials, inflationary pressures on adhesive, paper, pulp and film are at an all-time high. We have fought hard to absorb these increases in order to minimize their impact on you, and we are committed to continue to do so. The supply/demand imbalances are causing shortages of even our most common materials, which has a direct impact on the availability of both our stock and custom label products. 

In order to lessen the impact of these material shortages, the most important thing we can advocate for here is flexibility. The availability of our label materials and components is changing by the day, and we are often left scrambling to produce and fill orders that were not a problem the day before.  Because of our broad array of product offerings, we have the advantage of being able to provide alternative material suggestions in the event a particular material is not available. We ask that you be open to those alternatives, and rely on your General Data Account Manager to help determine the best substitute material for your application. We realize that there will be certain circumstances where substitutions will be unacceptable, and in those cases we will do our best to work through a solution with you - but do understand that, in those situations, lead times my be further extended based on availability of the material or other components.

Logistics Delays

As you are probably experiencing in your own business, lead times and delivery projections are extremely difficult to predict right now. Due to the increased strain on transportation companies and the overall logistics network across the country, we are seeing increased freight costs and a shortage of packaging and shipping supplies. 

We will continue to actively communicate our lead times so you know exactly what to expect when placing your orders. Please keep in mind that due to the current state of disarray in the logistics industry, there will inevitably be unavoidable delays that arise. We ask for your patience with us and our shipping team as we maneuver though those unexpected obstacles. 

Core Shortages

Our label core suppliers have informed us that they are also having trouble sourcing materials which is causing a label core shortage. This impacts the availability and lead times for our finished label rolls for both stock and custom label orders. 

Most printers that use label rolls can easily accommodate labels in fanfolded configurations. In many instances, this can actually be a benefit as fanfolded labels typically have more labels per stack than a standard roll, which means less time spent changing out the rolls or stacks. For customers that use label sizes that we also have available in fanfold configurations, switching them from cores to fanfold can shield them from any disruptions or delays due to this core availability issue. If you cannot switch to fanfolded labels, please try to forecast for your large orders and place those orders as early as possible to offset the potential for extended lead times. 

Die Cost Increases

Along those same lines, our metal die manufacturers are also facing supply chain issues due to the volatility of metal prices and increased demand for dies. This effects not only our custom orders which, in most cases, require unique dies to be ordered, but also our stock labels which require a uniform die replacement at regular intervals. 

We have an extensive library of dies to choose from, so if there is any flexibility in the size of label you need, we will do our best to find a die size as close as possible to what you are requesting. This will save you on die charges and eliminate the delay of waiting on a new die. Your General Data Account Manager and our manufacturing team can work with you to find the closest die size match for your label size and application.

What Can You Do To Help Minimize The Impact Of These Shortages and Delays?

As we continue to navigate through these uncertain times together, there are a few things you can keep in mind to help minimize the impact these supply chain issues have on you and your business. 

  1. Be As Flexible As Possible- We ask that you try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to label materials, components and configuration substitutions that we may have to make due to unexpected material shortages and stock-outs. We understand there will be times when substitutions are unacceptable, but we ask you to keep in mind that that may incur extended lead times on your order. 
  2. Provide Your Account Manager With Ample Label Application Details- Making sure to provide plenty of details on the label application, environment and specs required will help your General Data Account Manager quickly and effectively recommend another material or label configuration in the event that what you are requesting is not available. Our General Data Account Managers are some of the best in the business - and if you can provide all the information they need up front, it will help avoid any delays in quoting your orders or recommending substitutions.
  3. Forecast Your Orders and Place Them Early- Forecasting your orders and placing them as far in advance as possible can help to minimize delays and extended lead times and also allow us more time to source the materials and configurations you are requesting. 
  4. Watch For Additional General Data Updates- We will continue to actively communicate with you about our lead times and the ever-changing challenges we are facing in the industry, so keep an eye out for additional updates. You can contact your General Data Account Manager to make sure you are subscribed to our emails. 

We are committed to doing everything in our power to continue to supply high quality label products with the least amount of disruptions and we truly appreciate your patience with us when these unavoidable delays do occur.

General Data's senior management, supply chain and sourcing teams, and customer service teams are actively working to find new ways to work through the impact these unpredictable industry shortages and delays are having on our customers. We are committed to doing everything in our power to continue to supply high quality label products with the least amount of disruptions, and we truly appreciate your patience with us when these delays do occur. We are in this together - and we know that if we maintain transparent communication and work together to find alternative solutions, we will come out of this tumultuous time stronger than ever. 

If you have any questions or want to discuss this further, your General Data Account Manager is avaiable and always happy to help. You can reach out to them directly or contact us here