Don’t end up looking like an Ass in the year of the Horse

Chinese new year.

Year of the Horse. 2014.

Chinese holidays can impact your supply chain and make you look bad in the eyes of your customers.With the Chinese New Year holiday rapidly approaching, I want to offer a behind the scenes look at what really happens at the factory before a major holiday and explain how buyers can prevent problems.


The AQF team recently blogged about this subject, and with their permission I offer you the highlights from their post with my comments added.

In 2014 the Chinese New Year falls in late January though early February.  Because this is the biggest holiday of the year, it is normal for factories to close for 2 full weeks.  Right before the holiday quality issues increase drastically.

Workers are under pressure to finish on-time, they also look forward to taking their holidays and leave to spend some time with their family in their hometown.

What kind of quality problems can arise in that period?

Goods are packed unfinished

Goods are finished in a poor quality

Because most suppliers pay a month #13 salary to employees as well as throw a big party at Chinese New Year, it is not uncommon to find supplier strapped for cash around the holidays.  Since many sellers don’t get paid until the goods ship out, they may rush orders out the door with defects that would not normally be allowed.

Buyers should be very cautious and consider to inspect the goods during the production in addition to the traditional pre-shipment inspection. Why?

  • To identify the production speed.
  • To have enough time to correct possible quality defects while producing.
  • To put some more pressure on the supplier.

Important remark regarding the pre-shipment inspection
It is compulsory to ensure 100% of the goods are finished and at least 80% are packed at the time of the inspection. It reduces the risks of finding unfinished goods packed.

About the author: Mike Bellamy (American. Based in Asia since 1993)

Volunteer at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center and China Sourcing Service CenterAuthor of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing”.  Founder, Owner & Retired GM of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions – a boutique sourcing agency based in Shenzhen.  Advisory Board Member at Asia Quality Focus and AsiaBridge Law Firm.


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