The Chinese New Year of 2017 starts on Saturday, January 28th. The earliest New Year in China since 2012. With such a short gap between the Western holiday season ending and the Chinese New Year beginning, disruptions may occur.
Western countries usually see a minimal holiday shutdown. Christmas is guaranteed, but a whole week of inactivity is rare. However, in China, the Chinese New Year is seen as a major event. Total production shutdowns can last up to one month. Factory workers enjoy taking an extended break. The Chinese New Year may only last 2 weeks, but workers finish a few days before, and can return weeks after the official end date. Production levels should return to normal by 3-4 weeks after Chinese New Year.
Confirming last order dates may be wise. Usually the beginning of December is last orders. If you have a strong relationship with your supplier, you may have already been informed. Products that are seasonal in nature are at the highest chance of risk. Increased lead time over this holiday period may see spring and summer based products arrive too late. Tight schedules shouldn’t be relied upon. Confirm the last call for orders as soon as possible.
In the event production is not possible within your timeframe, don’t halt business activities on your end. While production will be stopped, other departments remain open. Continue to negotiate, design products and work with your Chinese counterparts in other areas. Due diligence and market research can also be carried out. Production stopping does not mean you have to waste time in all areas.
Remember to mitigate as much risk as possible. Select suppliers do not reopen following the New Year. Hence, if delivery will not be prior, then refrain from placing a deposit. Suppliers promising extremely quick turnarounds are also unlikely to deliver. Preying on desperate companies some scam suppliers will promise short lead times but do not preform.