The Chinese New Year falls on February 16 this year, so your global commerce preparations should begin now. In China, this holiday is equivalent to our Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl combined.
China is the third largest export partner with the United States after Canada and Mexico, and the fastest-growing major destination for U.S. exported goods. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. companies depend on goods, products and work from China, especially companies in the retail, electronics, furniture and toy industries.
During the Chinese New Year, every production facility in mainland China and Hong Kong shuts its doors for varying segments of time between the beginning of February and mid-March. The business halt in China could have major repercussions on U.S. businesses that are not prepared for the holiday and its aftermath of the holiday.
Take these four steps, and your business can properly plan for the Chinese New Year and minimize disruption.
1. Know the Timeline
It is critical to understand exactly when your suppliers will close and reopen, and when they will stop accepting orders in advance of the shutdown.
While February 16, 2018 is the date of the Chinese New Year, suppliers can start to shut down operations up to a month in advance. One supplier closing a few days earlier than assumed could result in an unexpected and early shutdown of your entire supply chain.
Speak with all of your partners in China well in advance of the New Year to confirm their schedules so you avoid delays.
2. Get Ahead of Schedule
Once you know the timeline and schedule of your partners in China, you should start placing orders in advance, using strong metrics to ensure adequate supply.
Because so many companies are planning advance orders, pre-New Year holiday manufacturing activity is intense, and delays can occur. Try to allow for a two- to three-week buffer between the production end date and the date your supplier plans to close for the holiday.
3. Get Your Logistics in Order
To ensure timely delivery of your goods, it is essential to be able to navigate border clearance requirements.
Transportation demands will increase, and Customs clearance agencies may experience delays because of the holiday. Experienced international logistics and transportation experts like the export experts at DHL can help your business navigate the Chinese New Year.
DHL also provides service arrangement information on DHL.com for customers in China and the U.S.
4. Plan for After the Holiday
Know that after the Chinese New Year, it may take longer than expected for businesses in China to get back to normal levels of production and fulfillment.
This is especially true because workers in China often use the holiday as a time to move to new jobs. Facilities can be short-staffed, or staffed with new employees, when the operational ramp-up occurs after the holiday.
Make sure your business plan accounts for continued potential delays after the Chinese New Year, as well as before.