Manufacturing in China? How to Schedule Production Around the Lunar New Year

Jared Haw
Jared Haw
8 December, 2023 | 6 min for reading
Manufacturing in China? How to Schedule Production Around the Lunar New Year

If you are manufacturing in China then you have probably noticed the number of holidays they have. The one with the most significance for them and your production is the Lunar New Year (AKA The Chinese New Year).  The Chinese New Year is the largest national holiday in the country and there is a temporary pause in the manufacturing hub of the world. 

This break has a big impact on production and you need to carefully schedule production around this time. This year it lands early/mid-February and it can last 2-4 weeks depending on who you are working with.

During the Chinese New Year, everything slows down in Chinese factories. This matters a lot for companies everywhere because it can cause problems with getting the things they need to make products. Understanding why this celebration is a big deal in manufacturing helps companies plan better.

Imagine planning a big event and not checking the date of a major holiday. It’s a bit like that for manufacturing companies. If they don’t plan for the Chinese New Year, it can mess up their plans, slow down production, and cost them money. So, in this blog, we’ll look at why companies must adjust their schedules during this festive time. 

Best Practices for Scheduling Around Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year brings joy, but it can also bring challenges for manufacturing companies. To navigate this festive period smoothly, consider these best practices.

Early Planning

Early planning is the cornerstone of successful production scheduling around the Chinese New Year. It not only helps you anticipate and mitigate challenges but also positions your company to leverage opportunities for a more streamlined and resilient manufacturing process.

Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute. Begin planning well in advance of the Chinese New Year to avoid surprises and ensure a well-thought-out strategy.

Comprehensive Timelines: Create detailed timelines that cover the period leading up to the holiday and the time it takes for operations to get back to full speed afterward.

Communication with Suppliers

Not all suppliers will follow the same schedule for the Chinese New Year. Your contact manufacturer might take a short vacation but they are dependent on their sub-suppliers. Clear communication is needed with your supplier to see what the effects of the Chinese New Year will have on your product. 

Open Channels: Keep communication lines with suppliers open. Check in regularly to understand their plans for the holiday and any potential disruptions.

Confirm Schedules: Ensure clarity on production schedules, lead times, and any adjustments needed during the Chinese New Year. A clear understanding of suppliers is key to avoiding misunderstandings.

Inventory Management

To get through the Chinese New Year, you’ll need to properly plan your inventory. Younger companies usually do two things. They don’t properly plan and they run out of inventory. Or they get too excited and purchase way too much inventory which puts a strain on their cash flow. 

Intelligently managing your inventory means you are not over purchasing nor are you running out of stock. Again for young companies, this can be tricky, especially if you have no historical data on sales during this time. 

Build Up Inventory: Increase your inventory levels before the Chinese New Year to have a buffer during the production slowdown. This helps in meeting customer demands without interruptions.

Effective Management: Implement robust inventory management practices to avoid overstocking or understocking. Striking the right balance ensures a smooth transition through the holiday period.

Alternative Sourcing

Imagine you have a favorite store, but it’s closed for a holiday. What do you do? Similarly, in manufacturing, having alternative sources for the materials you need is like having backup stores to buy your favorite things. 

So, if your main supplier is taking a break because of the Chinese New Year, having other places to get what you need becomes super important. It’s like having a Plan B

Identify Alternatives: Look for alternative suppliers outside the regions affected by the Chinese New Year. Having backup options can be a lifesaver if your primary suppliers experience delays.

Diversify Sources: Spread the risk by diversifying your sources. Relying on a single supplier can be risky, so having multiple options can safeguard your supply chain.

Flexible Production Schedules

Think about making a big puzzle. Sometimes, you need to adjust the pieces to make everything fit just right. Flexible production schedules in manufacturing are a bit like that—they allow you to adjust and adapt easily. 

During the Chinese New Year, things might not run exactly as planned. Having flexible production schedules is like having puzzle pieces that can shift when needed. It means being able to change your production plans quickly, like rearranging puzzle pieces, in response to unexpected events. 

Being agile in manufacturing helps when there are variations in the number of workers or changes in how long it takes to make things. Just like a puzzle that can be adjusted to fit different patterns, having flexible production schedules ensures a smoother manufacturing process, even during the celebrations of the Chinese New Year.

Agility is Key: Adopt flexible production schedules that can adapt to variations in workforce availability. Being agile allows you to navigate changes smoothly during and after the holiday.

Agile Manufacturing: Consider adopting agile manufacturing practices. This means having processes in place that can adjust quickly to changes, ensuring a more resilient production cycle.

Conclusion

Making things during the Chinese New Year is like solving a puzzle. Planning early, talking with suppliers, and keeping track of materials are super important. It’s like getting ready for a big celebration – you want everything to run smoothly. Having backup plans (like alternative sourcing) and being flexible in production helps keep things going, even during the celebration. Remember, with good planning and teamwork, we can keep making things smoothly, whether it’s the Chinese New Year or any other celebration!

As you connect all of the pieces of the puzzle, managing your product data becomes increasingly important, and tools like OpenBOM play a pivotal role. OpenBOM provides the infrastructure for seamless collaboration, transparency, and real-time visibility across your entire product lifecycle.

As you embark on your manufacturing journey in China and through the Chinese New Year, these practices, coupled with effective product data management through OpenBOM, serve as a guide. Empowered with a centralized data hub, you can navigate complexities and streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and ensure data accuracy.

Welcome to start your digital transformation journey where challenges are opportunities, and success is crafted through innovation, resilience, and lasting partnerships.

Regards,

Jared Haw

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