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January 23, 2023

Defeating Paper Industry Disruptors

If you follow our SOCIAL MEDIA or subscribe to our email newsletter, you may know that recently we made the bold claim that "GLOBALIZATION IS DEAD" and discussed how supply chains are shifting closer to home to help defeat some of the key disruptors in our industry. Of course, we know that you might have first-hand experience with these disruptors, leading to canceled orders, delayed shipments, lost clients, and even suffering revenue. 

But before we get into the "HOW TO" of building a more resilient supply chain at home, we wanted to take a quick look at a major piece of the puzzle: physical and digital disruptions in the paper industry. By “physical” disturbances, we mean things that involve real-life products and real-life people. By "digital," we mean things that occur in software, on computers, etc. 


What are some examples? Labor shortages and strikes, war, government-directed orders (like tariffs), and shipping routes changing due to natural disasters, borders, or climate change. Oh yeah, and how about- AN OUTRIGHT SHORTAGE OF CRITICAL COMPONENTS !?

You may remember that last year the  World Print and Communication Forum warned about product shortages as the industry was beginning to grow. And while that seems to be a waning issue in 2023, it makes you wonder: WHAT WILL IT BE NEXT TIME?

And listen, we know that cases like the ones above are almost impossible to predict by anyone. So what do you do? BUILD A BETTER SUPPLY CHAIN so that when these disruptors inevitably strike again, you will be set to keep moving forward while your competition sits in the sandbox waiting for resolution.


Phishing. Spam. Ransomware. You are probably familiar with these terms in some way, shape, or form and have indeed seen news reports on them. Hackers and bots use clever, and some not-so-clever, techniques to hold your financials, inventory, operations, or client lists hostage until demands are met. Unfortunately, it always seems like it happens to someone else until it happens to you.

For instance, one of the largest packaging companies in the United States suffered a ransomware attack a few years ago that took them offline for several weeks. Specifically, the responsible product management, monitoring, and operations systems were targeted.

Besides the fact that these types of attacks hinder the production of actual products, mess with your worker's ability to do their jobs, and can result in loss of revenue or clients, other factors are at play. While they did not have customer or employee information stolen, that is also a pervasive and costly side of cyberattacks.

Most companies' production lines will eventually catch up following an attack in a couple of (very stressful) weeks or months. Still, the remediation of personal data can be a several-year-long plan. This process could cost tens of thousands or even millions to address by hiring fraud management services, installing extra security, etc.

With attacks like these ramping up over the past few years (some statistics say they have increased by 33% since 2018), it is vital to be viewing your production line and equipment not only as a machine but as a piece of technology that, since it connects to the internet, is susceptible to cybercrime.

So what can you do to help diversify your supply chain to lessen the blow of a cyber attack?

Taking that into consideration that physical disruptions, like strikes, war, tariffs, or shortages, or digital disturbances like cyberattacks- are ultimately unpredictable- you must be doing all you can do TODAY, not tomorrow or next week, to prepare. Ultimately, you are never going to predict one of these disturbances from happening. Still, diversifying your supply chain before they happen is likely to lessen to blow. 

Think of this as your Emergency Preparedness Kit. Sure, you can scramble around the house WHILE a natural disaster happens and grab a flashlight, canned food, keys, and clothes. But wouldn’t you rather have a go-bag in the closet?

So, again, you can’t do much to prevent war or natural resources just not being there. But you CAN spread out your necessary purchases by buying from different geographic locations and multiple suppliers, meaning local, regional, national, and international. You can also work with teams with excess capacity in their systems and are ACTIVELY planning NOT to fill it or to HAVE excess available. 

Becoming engrained with different governments and their economies so that you can buy/sell with them and subsequently open yourself up to new supply routes is also a smart move.

From a digital perspective, having internet security experts set up and perform tests on your systems will ensure that you have your online machines and data as secure as possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t an infinite solution, as some of the leading companies in the world with the best security have fallen victim to these crimes. Still, are you considering setting up your warehouse with a router from Best Buy when you are running millions of dollars of machinery that connects to the internet? We didn't think so.

Prepare prepare prepare. And If you want to learn more about what we are doing to diversify our supply chain that can ultimately lead to resilience and more benefits for YOU - don’t hesitate to call or click today!