Trends to Track in the Paper Market
These are the newest and most state-of-the-art presses, with all the technological gadgets making them the most efficient presses in the world. The closed-loop color, laser and video registration, and folding control systems allow many to makeready well below 1,000 impressions, saving a lot of paper.
Because of these presses, publishers who supply their own paper have been experiencing some changes in the way they need to plan their publications. Advanced layout planning is critical so the right rolls can be ordered for the right press. Each form has to be coordinated with each roll width to be assured there’s enough paper to complete the run. It would be easy to order excess paper at both roll widths, but that can result in additional inventory, tied up funds and storage fees.
Electronic Management Tools
Making the slightly more complicated process of paper management more manageable are online tools offered by printers. These tools allow customers to track paper inventories, usage and shipments.
Quad/Graphics created a bulletin board for customers to post their excess or unused paper for other Quad/Graphics customers to purchase. It has become a very popular tool, and other publication printers have followed suit.
At one time, publishers had few resources to stay on top of the paper market. But today, the Internet provides many places to get current information and instantly check conditions—a good example is PaperLoop.com. Plus, most vendors, printers and paper suppliers update their customers via e-bulletins.
Another new trend will be Chinese paper. Currently, usage of Chinese paper in the magazine and catalog markets is essentially non-existent, but several U.S. printers are negotiating with Chinese mills to be exclusive users/distributors. These printers are not going on the record at the moment regarding their relationship with Chinese mills. However, a few publishers have expressed both interest and concern over that possibility.