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But there is light at the end of the tunnel (or nose). By embracing accurate planning, lean strategies, and transportation efficiency, retailers and suppliers can guide their supply chain sleigh through any storm.
While Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan were larger players in this year's holiday season planning, China is still the manufacturing giant when it comes to the goods most likely to wind up wrapped in colorful paper and tied with a bow in late December. Work stoppages there can have a marked effect on the supply chain, even months in advance.For instance, most retailers planned for the Chinese New Year in February, when nearly 178 million people take as long as one month off from work. But a colossal snowstorm in China extended some factory and warehouse closings by up to two weeks."Some electronics companies stockpiled inventory in anticipation of the holiday. Epson, for example, prepared early for the New Year, then closely monitored the brewing storm and built up subcomponent inventory beforehand," says Bradley A. Feuling, chief executive officer of Kong and Allan, a supply chain consultancy based in Shanghai, China.