The race to get a product made and shipped out is traditionally thought of as the race for the winter holidays. Small and big businesses alike want their products to be the thing to gift for the holiday season. However, with supply chain shortages and logistical challenges stacking up during the pandemic, the reality is that the race for December starts right now.
During the Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, factories and businesses shut down. Unlike most holidays in the west, where businesses will close for the day itself and possibly a few before or after, the Lunar New Year is a massive two week affair that, in some instances, can mean closures for the entirety of the month.
Because of this large period of well-deserved downtime, producers from all over the world that rely on manufacturers in Asia, rely on planning around the event to make their December deadlines. As a small business, it’s imperative to understand that you, like the big guys, need to plan accordingly too.
Top 5 Logistics Tips for Small Businesses:
Product design and engineering should be completed and finalized well before the Lunar New Year.
The biggest step in making sure that you have your products on time is entirely contingent on finalizing your design specification and communicating and testing for viability with your manufacturing partner. If you run up against the clock with Lunar New Year to make final tweaks to your product’s design, you will simply have to wait it out until they get back to you which may be well after the conclusion of the holiday period.
Understand that you will queue to join a production schedule.
While it may not surprise you, you are one of hundreds of products that a manufacturer produces, and so, their time is scheduled to reflect demand and availability of the equipment they use to produce products. No product gets placed on their schedule until every i is dotted and every t is crossed, so do your best to make sure you finalize the details to get on that schedule as early as possible.
Plan for delays.
Delays will happen. It’s the nature of the beast. During production, it’s important to stay attentive to any requests your manufacturing partner sends your way and be as responsive as possible. The better you can communicate with them on the fly, the shorter the delays will be in the process.
Be proactive in communicating with your manufacturing partners.
When it comes to batch testing, or inspection, the production will not stop unless it has to. Be ready and available to offer guidance and insight quickly to address any QA concerns you may have.
Ensure your shipping method will coincide with production delivery.
To keep your supply chain running smoothly, you’re going to need to make sure that availability to ship your finished goods will be available. In the best case scenario, your products are off the line, packed up, and moved to the shipping partner in a smooth transition. This will take coordination between your manufacturer and your shipping partner, so be ready to coordinate the effort and transition to get your products to your 3PL on time and ready for your busy season.
Working with international partners can be daunting for small businesses, and it is difficult to manage with so many moving parts. We hope that with these tips, you can begin to wrap your head around what it takes to beat the holiday rush.
Not interested in managing your supply chain? Let us know! Our team of experts can handle it for you, so you can focus on your business domestically.