The end of 2019 Chinese holidays are among us. Golden Week, a.k.a. Guaqingjie or National Day, is the last Chinese holiday of 2019. If you’ve ever sourced from China, you’re likely well aware that Chinese holidays mean factories shut down and manufacturing is paused until the end of the holiday.
China has one last holiday before the end of 2019 and that’s Golden Week! It’s from October 1st-7th, 2019 and is an observation of the official inauguration of the People’s Republic of China. Don’t confuse this with the Spring Festival Golden Week in China back in February.
Factories Shut Down
Yes, factories and many businesses will be closed throughout the week, however not all of them will be closed to observe the National Day holiday. The Spring Festival Golden Week in February is the Golden Week where millions of workers travel back to their hometowns to regroup with family and factories are often closed for the entire duration of the Chinese holiday.
Factories will typically work weekends before/after the holiday to make up for lost time, however communication with them will be delayed. Some will only observe 3-4 days of Golden Week if their production schedules are packed.
Sales representatives will often be out in observation of the entire week, however the factory workers will likely get back to work if the production schedule is packed. Since Q4 is coming up, this will likely be the case for the majority of good factories.
Most factories will be closed for at least the first 4 out of the 7 days. Expect delays in communication for the entire week as well as the week before and after.
Talk to your supplier early on to see how Golden Week will impact your production schedule.
How to Prepare and Avoid Delays
As we get closer to this Chinese holiday, it will slightly impact the supply chain. Importers are rushing to get their orders in and delivery started prior to this week to ensure they don’t have a delay in delivery.
Factory production will be impacted slightly the week before and after. You can do a few things to best handle the production:
- Ask your supplier when they expect your order to be complete.
- Ask your supplier what their plans are for Golden Week and how it will impact your order.
- Be open with them about the urgency of the order. If it’s not critical and can be delayed by a couple weeks, let them know. This will help build your business relationship with them and will let them be more open with you as well.
- If you’re in a big rush, ask if part of your order can be complete before the rest.
- Diversify your suppliers. If your current supplier isn’t willing to work with you on this, consider getting quotes from other suppliers through the Noviland Network.
Keep in mind that the factories will prioritize the large orders over smaller ones. Increase your order size to incentivize them to make your products first!
When to Book Freight
With demand rising, you should plan ahead and book your shipment as soon as possible. You can expect for shipping rates to go up as we approach October 1st, as well as shipping lead times to increase.
Demand typically dips right after Golden Week and many carriers will often times cancel part, or all, of the vessel’s route due to the low demand. They do this in order to keep the shipping rates fairly consistent and optimize their vessel usage. They may need to move around your cargo schedule. In this case they will book it for the next available vessel which may be up to 2 weeks.
These are also known as blank sailings.
We suggest booking your shipment as soon as possible as prices are going up and bookings will start to roll over.
- Sea Freight: Book your shipment at least 2-3 weeks in advance
- Air Freight: Book your shipment at least 1 week in advance.
Be open with your carrier and let them know which shipments are the most critical so they can prioritize your orders. If possible, share your forecast with them so they can check vessel availability for different sized orders.
For the orders that aren’t as critical, let them know as they’ll greatly appreciate it. They may even be able to help you save by booking a later vessel, ahead of time.
If you’re in a rush to replenish your inventory, consider splitting up your delivery to ship part of it via air and part via sea freight. You can get shipping quotes from Noviland and easily break up your shipments by having an entire team working with you!
Keep in mind that Q4 begins when this Chinese holiday starts. Peak season is among us and Chinese New Year is right around the corner. Having an accurate forecast is vital to keeping a streamlined supply chain.
Francois Jaffres is the COO of Noviland.com, a rapidly growing sourcing & purchasing solution making sourcing from overseas factories simpler. He has worked with over 500 businesses to source from China. Francois has a background in Industrial Engineering, and is very active in the Amazon Facebook Groups. He currently splits time between Campbell, CA and Pittsburgh, PA.