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Beginning on February 16, one month from today, the start of the celebration of the Lunar New Year across China and other regions begins and extends to March 2nd.

This Supply Chain Matters blog commentary serves as a reminder to procurement as well as sales and operations planning teams regarding the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Ensure that final preparations have made with Chinese based suppliers to have an adequate supply of needed inbound inventories of manufacturing component parts, and to adjust lead-time expectations to reflect the seasonal nature of this holiday slowdown in component supplies and transport networks.

This holiday represents one of the most important cultural celebrations across China. It is a time when many contemplate building good luck for the year to come and there are many superstitious traditions to insure previous year bad luck does not come forward.

This upcoming Lunar New Year further represents the start of the Year of the Dog.

In Chinese astrology, each year is related to a Chinese zodiac animal linked to a 12-year cycle. Dog represents the symbol of loyalty and honesty. People born in the Year of the Dog in astrology, possess the best traits of human nature. They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility.  The Year of theDog is referenced as a good time for lifestyle change and for the start of new business ventures.

All the above is likely a positive omen for industry direct materials procurement and supply management teams in ongoing interactions with Chinese based suppliers.

But first, there is the need to manage around the 15-day period when many Chinese suppliers and transportation entities traditionally shutdown operations as large masses of workers return to their home regions for family reunion and celebration. That has a special meaning in a global supply chain environment where production and capacity levels are at all-time highs among developed regions and where disruptions take on special meaning.

Chinese suppliers themselves continue to be challenged with tepid manufacturing growth although production indices over the past two months are showing signs of improvement. The upcoming year once again, takes on considerable significance for new beginnings and better fortunes.

The Year of the Dog is an opportunity for enhanced collaboration on product and process innovation or perhaps a new beginning in new product development.