Many economists expect 2022 to be a year of rebalancing. We agree. Last year’s headwinds were the consequences of an unexpected rebound in economic growth as the pandemic eased. It was a year defined by supply constraints, high consumer spending and rising price pressures. Now, America’s businesses are catching up. And, as one Bank of America economist observed, “there is plenty of cash on household and corporate balance sheets.”
As for inflation, most believe that cost increases will normalize and lower inflation will define the back half of 2022. That’s certainly good news. For America’s packaging distributors and manufacturers, resin costs are just beginning to turn a corner. Still, other raw material costs continue to climb. As much or more so, driver shortages, driver compensation, fuel prices and capacity limitations will continue to make freight transportation much more expensive.
For as long as Laddawn has been around, we have been pleased to offer free freight on all stock orders over $500, shipped to one location within the contiguous United States. Effective January 3, we raised our free-freight minimum. Given today’s freight cost escalation and with average selling prices in our industry climbing sharply, it is a relatively modest increase, to just $750. Still, it is not a change we made lightly.
A highly competitive free-freight minimum is a cornerstone of our best-in-class stock program, along with maintaining an inventory of over 2,000 stock items (Laddawn-made and sourced) in five locations nationally. Small orders shipped quickly are a convenient complement to our custom manufacturing. It’s why we provide pricing and lead times online for both stock and custom options at the same time. It extends your reach and provides a powerful one-two punch. If you have not logged on to Laddawn.com lately, take a fresh look.
We finished 2021 with our highest service levels in two years. Our Sparks, Nevada facility led the way with their return to stellar on-time shipping performance while providing their shortest lead times in eighteen months. In Manchester, Dallas, Atlanta and Sterling, service performance rose dramatically in the last quarter and lead times on our largest blown film lines dropped precipitously. We look to 2022 with great optimism.
On behalf of all of us in Atlanta, Dallas, Devens, Manchester, Sparks and Sterling, thank you for your business. Here is to growing our businesses together in 2022.
Mark P. Bourgeois
Director of Sales & Customer Experience