Planning Christmas in July

When do you need to place your orders for the Holidays?

[Note: Originally published June 30, 2015]

Here’s a visual representation of the steps involved in manufacturing a product in China:

Now consider the time necessary to execute these steps. Here are some rules of thumb for production planning in China.

  • 1-2 weeks for sourcing suppliers
  • 4-6 weeks for sampling and approval
  • 4-6 weeks for tooling (if your product is molded)
  • 4-6 weeks for production, QC and testing
  • 4 weeks for ocean shipment
  • 1 week for air shipment

To visualize these timelines and quickly compare options, we use a dynamic planning tool called a Gantt Chart.

For example, imagine you have a design for an awesome new handbag.

You start looking for a factory July 1st. Here’s what your production horizon looks like:

This means time is tight but you can still deliver the bags to your customers by Christmas if you place your order 9/16 and boat ship the goods from China on 11/3.

If you ship your bags by air, you could have them in your warehouse by Black Friday, but would forfeit a portion of your profits.

However, for a wholesale-driven business, Holiday products need to arrive in a US warehouse by September or October so they can be delivered to retailers in time for the November sales spike. These companies should already be placing their Holiday orders and planning for Spring 2016.

In short, if you haven’t started planning your Holiday inventory yet, the clock is ticking. All things being equal, you should focus on simpler, smaller and lighter products the tighter your deadlines become. We’ve got the tools to get your products ready for sale this Holiday season.

Shoot an email if you’re looking for last minute options. We’ll be in China July 25-Aug. 15 to accelerate our clients’ sample revisions and approvals in person.

Thank you!

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