Is there a Shortage of Cardboard Boxes?
Stories of Amazon hoarding all of the cardboard boxes are circulating. Has this presented other online retailers with packaging supply issues?
As a specialist cardboard packaging manufacturer, we have prepared for and responded to a gradual increase in demand. The industry has been able to balance supply and demand until two major impacts hit at the same time; lockdown and Brexit.
It is no secret, that these events have posed a challenge. We share our experience of the current situation and our response. Be assured that the production of cardboard boxes continues and we are putting measures in place to meet demand.
Shift in Demand
In the early days of Aylesbury Box Company, most orders were for industrial shipping cartons. A percentage of customers wanted printed retail packaging, but boxes for home delivery services were rare.
Over the last decade, there has been a complete turnaround. E-commerce packaging now dominates our order book. We have put our cardboard engineering skills and printing knowledge into creating bespoke boxes. From branded subscription boxes to doorstep and letterbox deliveries, we have responded to the growth in demand.
Another factor which has increased demand is that cardboard is increasingly favoured as a sustainable packaging material. There has been a drive away from plastic and polystyrene towards cardboard for deliveries, takeaways and retail packaging.
Impacts on Cardboard Packaging Supplies
The move towards online shopping and non-plastic packaging has been gradually increasing year on year for decades. As a packaging supplier, we have put measures in place to respond to this growing demand.
What has thrown things a little off track is the sudden, unexpected rise in deliveries that resulted from lockdown. With all but essential shops closed, consumers had no choice but to shop online. An extra 200-million home deliveries were made across the UK in the Christmas period alone. The majority of those orders arrived in cardboard boxes.
This surge in demand put pressure on cardboard supplies. Since October, it has taken longer for us to receive the cardboard we need. We have been able to fulfil all orders, however, the lead time has increased. Currently, our lead time is 9-weeks.
Leaving the European Union has also had an impact on supplies. As we adjust to new import rules, we expect supplies to be more unpredictable than usual.
The sharp increase in demand and reduced supplies are the market forces that have led our suppliers to raise the price of cardboard. This has had an impact on our charges.
Improving our Ability to Meet the Growing Demand for Cardboard Boxes
Aylesbury Box Company has been putting measures in place to ensure that we can continue to supply customers with e-commerce packaging, industrial cartons and shipping boxes.
As demand began to rise in 2020, we:
– Increased communication with our supply chain, so we are informed
– Recruited additional members to our production and account management team
– Applied for a lease on new premises to expand our production facilities
– Ordered new equipment that will make it possible to respond to the growing demand
These steps will be coming into play in the coming months. We aim to bring the lead time down and increase capacity by 50% as these measures come into force. Our team are working hard to advise customers and get orders out of the door on time.
No matter what the challenges, we are committed to providing a reliable service for all packaging customers.
How can you help?
Our message has always been to reuse cardboard boxes whenever possible and to dispose of them in cardboard collections or recycling bins. These actions support the sustainability of supply. Thank you.