Customers seem to be taking developments in the paper market in stride, Moran observes. "If we take the high volume of business coming into our plant as an indicator of the reaction to pricing, we would say that print buyers have accepted the increases. The strength of the industry segment we serve has helped overcome the concerns brought on by the timing, frequency and amount of the increases," she adds.
In the May/June 2005 edition of our sister publication, PrintMedia, Steven Frye of Frye Publication Consulting in Hailey, ID, offered publishers a top 10 list of suggestions for "Dealing with Rising Paper and Postage Costs." The suggested actions ranged from changing basis weight to reducing the number of wasted copies.
Frye says publishers haven't been reacting as strongly this time as they have in the past to similar conditions in the paper market. He hasn't seen any big move toward implementing the kind of measures for cutting paper usage that he outlined in the article.
"Publishers have been buying paper at historically low rates, so they've been expecting increases for several years now," he cites as the likely reason.
The Final Word
Frye's own take on the paper market outlook is for a slight softening through the end of 2005, with prices mostly stabilizing or even declining somewhat. "My longer term expectation is for prices to steadily, but moderately, increase because mills have changed the way they do business today compared to just a decade ago...and they are on a mission to raise rates," he says.
That specter of rising paper prices and tightening supply seems here to stay.
PrintCity Eyes Role of Rolls
AUGSBURG, GERMANY—PrintCity has launched a major industry-wide investigation into the potential impact of switching to larger paper roll diameters for web offset printing operations. The group says such a move "potentially would have massive cost savings for the industry."