by Jacob Yount
It's that time of year again for the Holiday Season in the Western world. The question is; does the holiday season affect your China mass production scheduling?
And it only affects mass production scheduling…not quality, right?
I would say that’s not right.
If something is affecting production scheduling, generally, especially in the lower to mid-cost arena, it’s only a few degrees away from affecting the quality. Nothing in China manufacturing happens in a vacuum.
NOW is the time production scheduling is affected by the holidays and for the most part, this actually started in early November but comes to full rushed-production culmination now.
How can Western holidays affect China mass production scheduling?
-The main culprit is Chinese New Year being close behind. Westerners, because of their own holidays, get postponed, delayed or overlook putting their own mass production orders in on time.
This time of year, everyone wants to deliver before the Chinese New Year.
The problem is, doing what it takes to deliver BEFORE the Chinese New Year, is not being implemented.
A little delay here…
A long Thanksgiving weekend there.
A Christmas office party on Friday… and this all starts adding up. When China mass production scheduling is tight, you miss a day of confirmations, you might as well miss a week. Remember, the factory stops for nobody and is like a big machine.
-The factory, because of the upcoming Chinese New Year, is already booked.
They are looking to clear off their palette before their own holiday starts.
They’re looking to release their workers and they are looking to collect payments (domestic and international).
-It used to be that only Chinese New Year was what people had to watch closely for in their China mass production scheduling. My opinion now, after 15 holidays seasons in China manufacturing, is Chinese New Year no longer happens in a vacuum.
Western Holidays and Chinese New Year have now sort of morphed in to 1 large black hole of scheduling.
If you do not have your order in by late October / early November and you’re hoping for a reasonable delivery, you will be on rocky ground.
The order may still depart China prior to Chinese New Year but it could be delayed in leaving from the factory – thus a delayed order.
The order may depart from the factory on time but you could expect delays either in China ports or Los Angeles ports. Who here handles sea shipments and does not remember last year’s brutal port delay in Los Angeles?
My belief (and experience) is that all things in China manufacturing are connected and 1 change, regardless of how small on what condition, has an impact on another condition or pre-confirmed point.
Regardless of how connected those 2 points are. You may not think something is connected…but you’d be surprised.
-A factory that is tight on delivery, looking to collect end-of-year payments, whose workers are exiting to travel home (and they don’t know if they will return) is not highly focused on making sure quality is as per all confirmed specs.
The production line boss pushes, the workers rush and they complete, pack and hand off the order before you can even schedule the quality inspection. You ask your sales contact, “hey, what’s with rush?” and they give you the false “do you want the goods on time or not?” dynamic.
In the event you do miss timing and are not able to ship before the Chinese New Year, it’s never a good idea for an order to sit in a Chinese factory. This also can lead to poor quality; think poor storage, crushed export cartons, moisture, mildew…whatever. Again, butterfly effect (all things are connected).
It’s a tricky time of year. If you have orders going on or getting ready to start and the factory has confirmed to ship before the holiday; control that order like a hawk.
Immediately get the factory to draw up a schedule and show you when they will be accomplishing each step.
If the factory is not able to draw up this mass production schedule, then YOU DO IT and ask them to fill in the dates.
Be sure you find out when is the earliest you can get an inspector in the factory to check the goods.
And whatever date they give you, stay on top of that date.
Believe me, this time of year, the factory does not mind if you miss that date.