A Round Table Overview for GBIG
An exclusive interview with Michele Moran, Hoffmaster,
Director of Marketing & New Product Development.
Hoffmaster produces specialty disposable tabletop products.
Hosted by Susan Stansbury, Industry Consultant
Michele Moran, Hoffmaster
Susan: How do you see your business outlook and the key issues you are facing this year?
Michelle: We’re seeing good sales results, and we think it’s going to continue on that track. With all the supply chain issues we are seeing more of a demand for American made products. Our factories in Oshkosh, Clintonville, and GMSP division in Oconto, WI, as well as the paper straw facility in Fort Wayne, IN—are all busy. Of course, there are issues around continuing covid outbreaks, inflation, gas prices, and other factors that could affect growth.
What are some of the other factors and challenges occurring?
Michelle: First, we continue to see raw material difficulties with paper, tissue, and board stock availability. Second, there are labor concerns where we cannot hire enough people to meet our demand. Due to a workforce shortage, figuring out how to further automate becomes increasingly important.
Then, third on the list are freight issues with costs per container going from $4,000 to $20-30,000. Associated with that are a lack of truckers to drive and to pick up product. We are seeing a shortage of people who aren’t entering into the trucking industry, causing more problems with the supply chain. Finally, inflation has led to rising costs for raw materials, electricity, wages, and freight.
How did you work during the pandemic, from home? And now?
Michelle: During the pandemic I worked from home for almost 2 years. Currently, I work at the office three days per week, and I think that will continue very similar to what we see with other businesses. Use of cell phones, zoom calls and Team’s calls makes it easier than in past decades to be efficient at home.
Are your products made of recycled materials?
Michelle: We have several napkins, placemats, and traymats that are made of recycled materials. However, with more online ordering and items being shipped to homes, it has led to less recycling in many cases. Normally the corrugate boxes would have been recycled at the store level, and now with people ordering online they aren’t as good at recycling the boxes. This has caused a shortage of recycled materials and has increased the costs of the tissue and paper. Inflation has impacted the price of corrugate packaging, and we continue to see increases.
Any other thoughts about the industry?
Michelle: We are optimistic about people continuing to go out to eat, seeing travel come back, and concerts happening. This is all great for business. A couple of things could cloud this such as seeing a continued uptick in the COVID variant, or rising inflation, or more supply chain issues with raw materials.