If you're a regular blog reader you might have read the title and said, "It's TOO EARLY to start reading about planning for Chinese New Year!" And you're sort of right.
It's true you don't have to get your orders in for Chinese New Year (CNY). That would be overkill. But it's not too early to look at the calendar and strategize about how to avoid hiccups in your product flow as a result of the holiday.
Photo by Annie Spratt
For those readers who haven't experienced the disruption caused by Chinese New Year, this post will serve as primer on the topic. And we've got some to-do items, straight from a member of our Operations team.
First lets look at a few CNY factoids:
Combine that with the phenomenon of workers who enjoy being home so much that they choose not to return to their jobs. Can you imagine being the plant manager who learns that 40 percent of his workers aren't coming back? Production will be slow to ramp up until those workers are replaced.
Likewise, vessels stop operating during CNY which means all the vessels right before and right after the holiday are packed to the brim. Crowded vessels on the China side mean crowded vessels on the domestic side of the journey. Once your vessel makes it to port, no matter how efficient it is, you can expect delays as containers are unloaded from ships and moved to trucks/rail.
Whether factories, ports or other transportation methods, it takes time to get back to normal. You don’t shut the factory lights off for two weeks and get up to 100 percent, full speed the day you return.
Okay. How should you prepare? Here's a quick checklist of things to consider now — before the early reminders we'll send in late August/early September, and certainly before the rush.
Chinese New Year doesn't have to be something to dread. With a little education and solid planning, you can get through those weeks without missing a beat.