Each year supply chains around the world must plan around Chinese New Year, which falls somewhere in either January or February each year. The varying date is due to CNY being based on the lunar calendar, which in itself adds confusion to production planning. Furthermore, there is no real rule of thumb on how long factories or other service orientated companies will be closed. The official government holiday is only one week; however, it is safe to say that production operations will be affected for up to 4-6 weeks each year. Unfortunately for buyers, it will affect your supply chain for much longer.
This year CNY is Saturday, February 16th. There are many variables that have buyers and supply chain personnel nursing headaches already. Our goal is to help minimize the complexities of product planning and offer a guideline to help navigate through the holiday this year and years to come.Here are basic tips to help minimize the impact of CNY:
1) Work with trusted manufacturers – suppliers that are well organized will inform you of any impacts in advance. That’s exactly how we managed to provide you with this information, by working in close collaboration with experienced and trusted manufacturers. However, we take it a step further with the 889 QA Program which goes much deeper as a hands-on approach. As some may know, even suppliers that are not as busy just use CNY as an excuse for being slow. But this isn’t the only reason to be hands on – larger factories that are approaching capacity may subcontract to smaller factories to meet demand. Quality issues may arise as these factories do not have the same quality assurance programs. One of the advantages of working with a manufacturing partner is that they usually have years of experience building a trustworthy supplier network and can help you navigate during this stressful time of year.
2) Plan inventory – By the end of 3Q factories should notify their valued customers to place orders that need to be shipped before CNY. Here is what you will need to do to plan inventory:
– Analyze sales from previous years to forecast inventory needs during January – April
– In October, confirm when your supplier is closing and reopening for the CNY
– By November discuss the optimal time for placing a pre-CNY order considering capacity and lead time
– Based on your supplier’s response to the above, place your order before the CNY (usually in first two weeks of December)
This year more factories are reaching capacity sooner. We have found that many clients are looking to place orders in August and September to get ahead of the production capacity concerns as well as lack of freight availability. In July there were not enough carts for rail freight.
3) Stay on top of production – Stay on top of production so that you are aware of production status and if schedules are slipping. Highlight and work aggressively with suppliers to keep them on schedule, in our experience, often the customer with the loudest voice gets priority.
a. Factory Closing Date – have products ready for shipment 1.5 – 2 weeks before the factory closing date. This include a couple days of cushion in case you need to get the goods sorted or reworked before shipping. Also, makes sure with the competitive shipping industry that your goods will get out.
b. Factory Opening Date – any inventory needed for March and April should be shipped prior to CNY. It is critical to specifically confirm the deadline to place an order for a shipment directly after CNY and the first shipment date after CNY. Most factories resume production with only about a third of their workforce. Not to mention the back-orders received during CNY.
c. Deadline to place an order for a shipment before CNY – depends on the supplier’s production capacity, complexity and size of the order. Make sure you know your supplier’s production lead time minimum and maximum days.
4) Have a quality plan – create a quality standard (sooner the better) with the manufacturer and establish a thorough inspection plan. This will reduce the risk of shipment delays caused by quality issues. If you work with a third-party QC partner based in China like 889, you probably have better chances of avoiding quality driven delays. Either way, pre-plan your inspection services ahead during the holiday as you are not the only one in a rush and workload is high. For more concrete quality and inspection planning feel free to contact anybody on the 889 Team.
5) Plan for shipment – sea freight can get expensive with peak pricing during that time. Plan and ship ahead of time to save cost and avoid delays. Smaller shipments should be at the port 2-3 weeks before CNY and booked a minimum of two weeks in advance to ensure a spot on the ship. Larger shipments should be booked 5-6 weeks in advance. These seem like aggressive timelines, but with unpredictable variables like weather they are necessary. Working with a trusted freight forwarder or manufacturing partner will be helpful here as they usually work with shipping companies that are well organized and better versed to deal with high demand caused by CNY.
6) Forward plan for future CNY and other important Chinese holidays
– CNY 2019: February 5
– CNY 2020: January 25
– CNY 2021: February 12
– CNY 2022: February 1
– CNY 2023: January 22
As that famous 1971 hit by Ten Years After goes: “I’d love to change the world / But I don’t know what to do / So I’ll leave it up to you.” Recently 889 Global Solutions has been involved in some charitable efforts and wanted to share some different ways you can get involved. Through your support, these organizations uplift people and communities and improve the quality of life around them. In early March of 2018, our staff volunteered with Meals-on-Wheels and LifeCare Alliance, as well as the Homeless Families Foundation and Columbus Rotary, to support the amazing work they do helping underprivileged families. Soon, we will be participating in the Step Up For Stefanie Walk/Run. We believe that selfless contribution is a healthy part of any community, and have found these organizations to be particularly wonderful for the services they provide. Please see below to see how you can take part in the action!
Earlier this Spring, our team and their families had a heart-warming experience taking part in the Meals-On-Wheels volunteer program. Meals-on-wheels serves 2.4 million seniors and helps people in a variety of different walks of life. Those served include people who undergo medical treatments that prevent them from leaving the house, people with difficulty chewing food, and people with dietary restrictions. In cooperation with Life Care Alliance, chefs and registered dietitians create healthy, complete meal plans to give to those in need. Are you looking to contribute to a great cause? They accept any size donation, and have multiple volunteer programs to choose from.
- To get involved, contact Michelle Jones at 614-437-2803, or you can read more here: https://www.lifecarealliance.org/volunteer/
On March 10, we had the opportunity to participate in a fun day of Olympics put on by the Homeless Families Foundation and The Columbus Rotary club. We enjoyed setting-up for the event as well as being timers, score-keepers, and judges. Most of all, we enjoyed the smiles at the award ceremony afterwards. It was uplifting to provide a positive and encouraging atmosphere for the kids. In a day focused on youth health and fitness, kids gathered to do fun obstacle courses and get the blood pumping. There were push-up and sit-up stations, dodge ball games, and even a balloon popping competition to inspire kids to be active and have fun. Since 2012, Columbus Rotarians have contributed over $1 million to community programs in Columbus. The Homeless Families Foundation puts on after school programs and weekend events like the Kids Olympics where they provide shorts and T-shirt to every child and award medals and ribbons to participants. Both organizations take big steps to make our community a better place for all.
- Stay up to date with the Homeless Families Foundation: https://www.facebook.com/homelessfamfdn/
- For information on the Columbus Rotary club: http://columbusrotary.org/sitepage/how-to-join
If you missed the last two events and are wondering “what’s next?” you are in luck! This Saturday April 21st 2018, the staff here will be taking part in the Step-Up for Stefanie walk/run for the second year. Proceeds from this 4-mile or 1-mile course will benefit local breast cancer research through the Stefanie Spielman Research Fund. Over the last 16 years, they have raised more than $1.7 million for cancer research. Along the route, runners and walkers alike will be enjoying live music and other entertainment. We are excited to be participating again this year, and have doubled our fundraising goal from last year. It is our hope that you will support the vision of creating a cancer-free world. We want to express our sincere thanks to all of you for your willingness and desire to help us in our fundraising efforts. Click here to see how you can contribute: 2018 Step-up for Stefanie flyer.pdf
We look forward to seeing you at future events!
Are you guys excited for an extra hour of sleeping time? Are you following the daylight savings? If you are, is China following it with you? While much of the world will be participating in the bizarre ritual of moving their clocks forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time (DST) this weekend, China won’t be taking part. That’s because China doesn’t observe it.
If you’re from a Western country, you probably know the DST drill. In autumn, the clocks “fall back” an hour, earning you an extra hour of sleep. But in the spring, the clocks “spring forward,” which means you lose a whole 60 minutes of precious shut-eye. The clock switches are supposed to account for the changes in daylight hours between seasons.
If you’ve ever tried to schedule a Skype call with family or friends back home, you’ve probably noticed how this affects the time difference. For example, if you’re making a call to a friend on America’s East Coast from China, you might be 13 hours ahead in November but 12 hours ahead in April.
China is one of the several countries that does not observe DST, and their daily clock remains unchanged throughout the year. In fact, most of Asia doesn’t observe it, with Japan and India being the sole fellow DST followers.
But this wasn’t always the case for China. The Chinese government made the change to DST in April of 1986 to try and conserve energy. A study from Peking University illustrated that this could save up to 2 billion kilowatt hours of energy (O’Donnell 2017). Government officials had hoped that moving “wasted energy” from early morning light (thanks, sleeping factory workers) to the end of the day when more people were active, the demand for electricity would be reduced.
But the period of changing the times twice a year was unpopular. The city of Guangzhou found it difficult to adapt to the system, and eventually ignoring it altogether. When China was supposed to be moving clocks forward an hour on April 15, workers in Guangzhou complained so much that their employers caved.
The workday at restaurants, schools and government offices across Guangzhou was shifted ahead an hour so that workers could get up the same time as they normally did and still claim they were following the time change. But because the time change was not considered official, many people began forgetting to reset their clocks and meeting times constantly had to be doubled checked. The confusion and inconsistency led to the Chinese government ditching DST altogether in 1992.
Perhaps China is onto something. with not observing DST. The system isn’t too popular with the sleep-deprived citizens of the world. But don’t take our word for it — just check out the Change.org petitions calling for the repeal of DST.
Credit: O’Donnell, B. (2017, March 11). Explainer: Why China Doesn’t Have Daylight Savings Time. Retrieved November 2, 2017, from thatsmags: http://www.thatsmags.com/beijing/post/16191/explainer-why-china-doesn-t-follow-daylight-savings-time
4th of July Fun Trivia
The 4th of July will always be related to fireworks, parades, barbecues and festivities (parties). But there are some things many people don’t know about Independence Day. Let’s test your knowledge of early American history, the Declaration of Independence, and the Founding Fathers of the United States in the following quiz!
To continue our support for research on breast cancer and breast cancer patients, we want to take the opportunity to share Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure this Saturday, May 20th in Downtown Columbus.
Susan G. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker in 1982 after her sister Susan passed away two years prior. Currently, the organization is the world’s largest source of funding among nonprofits that are devoted to eliminate breast cancer. The organization has invested more than $ 2.9 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 60 countries. Their efforts helped in the reduction of breast cancer deaths by 38% between 1989-2014 and they aim to end breast cancer.
The race offers the options of a 5K-run and a 5K-walk. In the survival ceremony, you’ll find an amazing group of survivors who are supportive of each other and whose spirits drive us to contribute to the cause. If you can’t make it to the race this weekend, you can donate here. Every dollar will go towards breast cancer related research and initiatives, as well as assisting uninsured and underinsured patients. You can find more ways to get involved here.
The people of 889 Global Solutions have recently expanded their team orientated spirit from the office to the bowling lanes. In fact, the image you see above is an action shot of actual footage you can catch on Tuesday nights when the 889 wrecking crew takes on the lanes! With the crafty team name of “Bowlin’ a China Shop” the team takes their talents to Sawmill Lanes on Tuesday nights to take on any and all challengers. You may hear a lot about how the office culture here is fun, but then you’re left with the question… how so? Well here is one of the many ways we do it!
Everybody in the company participates. From Project Managers to Sales Associates, you can always count on an open invitation to unwind after the beginning of the work week. Even though the Adult Mixed league only calls for 4 bowlers per week, our team rotates participants while others cheer them on with food and beverages.
What fun would the extra-curricular be without going the extra mile?
The answer to that is, none at all. That’s why we made epic team uniforms for our extravagant Tuesday nights. They include custom nicknames like “DJ Kevy Kev” and “The Integrator” to make each and every uniform unique. It gives everybody that little extra boost they need to carry on to hump day!
Bowling isn’t your thing?
Don’t worry about it! Karen didn’t think so either, now she’s averaging triple digits every week. Not only that but she has become one of the staples of Bowlin’ a China Shop’s recent success with a 140-point game last week.
The bowling team is a perfect example of what makes the office culture at 889 Global Solutions. We bring a fun and competitive nature that drives for improvements. Whether it is at the bowling lanes or in the office, we are a team that depends on each other in order to succeed.
Here at 889 Global Solutions, we have implemented a bi-weekly Lunch & Learn, which we have come to find out that it is very beneficial to our interns. During these sessions, we teach our interns new knowledge of the industry and our sales process.
Every bi-weekly Lunch & Learn, we introduce our interns to a new part of the 889 process. We also present our interns with a test of the previous week’s session. This allows us to gauge the knowledge and assess how our interns are progressing throughout their internship.
The Lunch & Learn idea is a very promising technique in improving the quality and feedback of our internship. We advise other businesses who offer interns to adopt this idea, as it will allow you to evaluate your interns and get feedback about the internship.
Have an interest in Chinese business? Have a passion for Manufacturing? Bringing in the year of the Rooster, we are seeking a full-time International Sourcing Project Manager to join our team. 889 Global Solutions is a contract manufacturer based in the growing city of Columbus, Ohio. Since 2000, we have had the mission to help North American businesses increase their profits and improve their supply chain efficiency. If you are looking for a career with a growing company that has remains a small business at heart, 889 Global Solutions may be a fit for you!
As a team member, Project Managers work with our U.S. clients, employees in our Chinese locations, and contacts at Asian factories to manage projects from production through delivery. Think you have what it takes? Check out what one of our own Managers has to say about the job.
1) What are the key functions of this role?
Among some of the most significant responsibilities as a Project Manager at 889 are to communicate with our Chinese vendors to obtain and calculate accurate quotes, work closely with the sales team and other PMs to help clients place orders, coordinate with the 889 China team to qualify new vendors and conduct factory inspections, and to complete manufacturing and shipping timelines. In short, we oversee production and packaging inspections to ensure the right part arrives at the right time.
2) What’s your favorite part of being a Project Manager?
“Every day is different. Anything could happen during a project, so there’s constantly problem identification and problem solving involved. It is both fun and challenging.”
3) What’s it like to work at 889?
“It’s like working with family. There’s no politics and with an open-door policy, our team remains close yet different. There are always a lot of new and fun ideas. We try to make work fun. We also have fun after work in a variety of events which brings us even closer.”