Chinese New Year (CNY), a.k.a. Spring Festival, is the most important holiday for the Chinese people. 2019 is the 'Year of the Pig', and this year Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday, February 5, but celebrations last approximately 15 full days, concluding on Tuesday, February 19.
Make no mistake: CNY impacts all manufacturing in China (as well as many additional Asian countries including, Singapore, Taiwan, The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and others), whether you're in production or in earlier planning phases. Factory employees will depart for the holiday as early as the last week of January to travel to their home provinces for the holiday period, and will not begin to return until the week of February 18. Some workers won't return at all, moving on to a different opportunity, meaning a factory may be in a hiring and training phase for several weeks following CNY.
Even if you’re in stable mass production, once the holidays conclude, new workers will need to be trained on your production line. Having someone onsite at the factory representing your company provides a critical advantage during this time. 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’re in the stage of thinking about finding a factory, you will not see quotes returned any earlier than March. If you’re targeting Holidays 2019 for delivering your products, 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 already in production:
- Work on your Quality Plan:
- If you don’t have one at this point you can work with Dragon to specify, develop, and implement a tailored Quality Management System
- Address current failures to inform and update your current quality plan
- Root cause analysis failures to identify key return issues
- Making software improvements
- Converse or start working with:
For companies about to start the RFQ process:
- Additional fleshing out of your BOM
- Improve your pitch deck -- ultimately pieces of this are included in an RFQ package
- Optimize your prototype for mass production by doing DFM work
Of course, these suggestions just scratch 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!