Chinese New Year (CNY), also known as Spring Festival, is the most important holiday for the Chinese people. This year, Chinese New Year's Day falls on February 8, 2016, with the celebrations lasting approximately 15 days concluding on Monday, February 22. 2016 is the year of the monkey.
In terms of the impact on your manufacturing (whether you're in the production phase or planning), you can expect that employees will begin to leave the factories that first week of February to travel home, and start to return in that last week. That being said, it's quite common that many workers won't return at all - instead moving on to a different opportunity.
For a company that is in production, everything will come to a screeching halt for the better part of February. Once the holidays conclude, it can be expected that new workers will need to be trained on your line. This is where having someone onsite at the factory representing your company provides a critical advantage. They can quickly bring things back up to speed and get your production humming sooner than if you're trying to coordinate via skype and email.
If you are currently thinking about finding a factory, you will not see return quotes any earlier than March. If Holidays 2016 delivery is your target, you are now up against a very tight schedule (for hardware products, we advise 9-12 months to get from prototype to product on the docks - or in the air as a last and very expensive resort). Essentially, there is no buffer or room for error in your schedule.
The truth is, CNY presents a very real challenge to companies at any stage of the manufacturing journey. You may be thinking, so what am I supposed to do during this time? We look at it from a different perspective; what can you be doing during this time? Simply put, a lot.
For companies that are in production, we recommend spending this time addressing the addressable:
- Making software improvements
- Developing functional test protocols
- Readdressing your Quality Plan
- Conversations/ working with:
- Logistics partners
- Packaging designers
- US or Europe-based suppliers
For companies about to start the RFQ process:
- Additional flushing out of your BOM
- Improvements on your pitch desk -- ultimately pieces of this are included in an RFQ package
- Optimize your prototype for mass production by doing DFM work
Of course this is just scratching the surface - the point is, there’s never truly any downtime when it comes to manufacturing a hardware product. Time invested wisely at any point along the journey will truly pay off in the end.
If you have questions on how you might be able to optimize your current or future manufacturing needs, we're here to help - please reach out to us anytime!