Brett Atlas, one of MJS Packaging’s Senior Vice Presidents, recently shared his perspective on the latest challenges impacting the supply chain industry — a global glass shortage. Affecting millions of manufacturers, we are going to share how this glass shortage is also disturbing one of the Earth’s natural resources, not just the packaging industry.

What’s Causing the Glass Shortage?

Before we share what’s causing the shortage, let’s talk about what glass is made of. According to Glass Alliance Europe, glass is “made from natural and abundant raw materials (sand, soda ash and limestone) that are melted at very high temperatures to form a new material” in a glass furnace. The furnace melts raw materials into glass using different amounts of heat and power sources.

To make glass bottles, there needs to be a wide inventory of raw materials available. One of the key raw materials used to make this packaging material, sand, is facing a huge shortage. Sand is the world’s second most-consumed resource after water. It is also used to create everyday products and its use may not be commonly known to the average consumer. Some of these items include smartphone and computer silicon chips, concrete, paint, chemicals and more.

Sand in a construction site with construction dump trucks. | Glass Shortage blog post at MJS Packaging
The sand shortage will begin to affect many industries that use sand as a primary resource for their products.

In addition to the sand shortage, there is also a shortage of glass furnaces which create and mold glass bottles for many industries. Various companies and manufacturers are seeing lead times increase or seeing production go from the United States to overseas. The overseas manufacturers may have the bandwidth and materials to get the job done but may not work for your business model if you need the glass packaging immediately. This option is best for companies who are forecasting out their glass needs or can wait during the longer lead times.

Sand and all-natural resources need to be appreciated as vital materials before further sustainability challenges arise. Knowing this, it can seem impossible to navigate through these issues, but we are here to encourage you that there is always a solution for your products. Read the four tips for you to stay ahead of the curve with modifying your current packaging strategy.

4 Ways to Pivot Your Packaging Strategy

Be Flexible

In this current supply chain market, we encourage our customers and prospects to remain flexible. Your preferred packaging solution may not be available for your company, but that should not stop your search to find something new. Think of a new way you can package and present your product by using a different shape.

You also may even consider increasing or downsizing the size of your product to make sure you can get it to market. These are the changes we are seeing our customers make and have been able to assist and advise in any capacity.

Shift Your Packaging Material

Next, we’re continuing to stress the importance of staying flexible during this process. If the packaging solution item that you have always used is not currently available or has a longer than expected lead time, then look at new material alternatives that can work for your product. There are plastic and metal containers to consider as well.

Additional areas of the supply chain industry like the aluminum industry are experiencing challenges as well, but there may still be something that can work for your business. In many cases, we are seeing quicker lead times and more packaging options to choose from with plastic containers. This can be an opportunity for companies who are in immediate need of a packaging solution alternative.

Multiple shipping containers with one being lifted up
As more glass bottling orders are sent overseas, lead times for packaging increase due to the global shipping container shortage.

Plan Ahead

Timelines are important but when they are thrown off by unforeseen circumstances, you must learn to pivot and move forward. Begin planning ahead with the packaging alternatives you could use to fulfill your product demand. This will allow you to easily stock products without worries of running out of packaging inventory.

Work With Your Packaging Supplier

With many hindrances in the packaging supply chain, our team is here to help our customers understand the issues at hand and maneuver through the complexities of finding new packaging that works for your company and products.

“As a company, we’re working harder than ever to find backup sources and creative solutions,” said Atlas in a related article. “Whether it’s coming up with financial arrangements to help our customers, or whether it’s taking more inventory than we normally would and working out payment plans with them to make sure it’s there and protect them however we can. We’re even working occasionally with competitors to come up with exchange agreements. Anything we can do to help our customers.”

MJS Packaging has a global network of trusted manufacturing partners. As your dedicated supplier, we will do everything we can to find a packaging solution that works for you.

Talk To Your MJS Packaging Representative to Forecast Your Packaging Needs

Contact MJS Packaging today or talk with one of our knowledgeable packaging solutions specialists at (800) 915-2262 to find a different solution for your glass packaging products.