Inventory Planning for Chinese New Year: Time to Get Ready
With a new year comes new opportunities, and while the Christmas shopping rush has died down, there is still another major annual holiday that will impact your business – and that is Chinese New Year.
Depending on where you are located in the world and who your target market is, Chinese New Year might not seem that relevant to you. That is unless your products are manufactured in China.
If you haven’t already done so, the best time to start ordering the inventory you need for early 2018 sales is as soon as possible.
Chinese New Year falls on February 16th this year, and–for China–it is the biggest holiday of the year. That means workers get at least a week off and factories close for up to a month. And the closing of factories may happen as early as two weeks before the Chinese New Year.
So, beware. When your inventory orders are not made early enough, the holidays will cause a huge delay in production and logistics with your products not arriving until near June, at the earliest.
Make sure to have enough stock to last throughout Q1 this year, keep in mind these best practices:
1. Get Your Orders In Ahead of the Chinese Holiday
Inventory should be ordered at least 45 days before the Chinese New Year, 60 days being the safest.
For product with long production times, i.e. they take a long time to manufacture, the earlier you get your orders in the better.
Waiting until a week before the holidays will leave you empty handed, as the manufacturers shut down before the holidays.
2. Ship from China before Chinese New Year to Avoid Delays
Many Chinese logistics companies don’t close until 3-4 days before the holidays.
However, it’s best to make sure your cargo is ready to ship at least a couple of weeks before the holiday, in case of any delays.
If you’re late, you may risk your cargo being stuck at the shipping port for weeks during the holidays. Thus, you will not have the inventory you need when you expect it, and you will have to pay a holding fee with the shipping company. Double whammy.
Being closed down for the holidays also means that when coming back, there will be a number of backlogged orders causing further delays in shipments.
3. After Chinese New Year Holiday, Expect Delays
Different factories have a varied schedule for returning to work after the holidays, and production may take some time to get up to speed.
Most manufacturers will return to handling administrative tasks 5-10 days after the holidays, so they will be reachable via email, but production will start up again at a slower pace.
So be prepared for delays and order backlogs after the Chinese New Year holidays.
4. Quality Control is a Must Before and After Chinese New Year
While running quality control of your products is always a good idea, keep in mind that with the Chinese New Year holiday approaching, production may be rushed and quality control may be harder to manage on the manufacturer’s side.
So if you are able to have your orders shipped to you before the holidays, make sure to do a quality check to make sure everything is right and avoid customer service issues.
Conclusion: Start Now to Avoid Inventory Disruptions from China’s Biggest Holiday Season
With inventory planning it’s important to have insight into the production schedules and public holidays of your product manufacturers.
This will make sure that you’re always up to speed with the state of your ordered inventory and how long it will take for you to receive them.