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Mar 3, 202012:06 PMThe Gray Area

with Donna Gray

Check with your vendors to avoid coronavirus-related delays from overseas products

Some local businesses are starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus situation in China and its impact on the manufacturing sector. While many factories are once again resuming production, in some provinces other factories may not return to work for some period of time. Additionally, workers returning from certain provinces are subject to quarantine and testing which could delay their return to work.

This not only affects the factories, but also has a great impact on inland and ocean freight. Since many component parts and other products are manufactured in China, this situation eventually trickles down to the end users who are waiting to receive their orders.

It’s common in China for a factory to use a combination of local workers, as well as others from around the country who live at the factory in apartments. Many factories expect only 25 to 50 percent of their workers to be unable to return until after the virus situation is completely under control. This substantially reduces the capacity of many factories to produce.

This crisis is going to cause delays on nearly anything produced in China, as well as any new products that were not shipped before the Chinese New Year. If this situation does not improve soon, more and more items will be affected. In particular, industries that do not carry heavy inventories, as well as manufacturers around the world that use Chinese components, are going to begin to run out of inventory over the next few weeks if the factories in China do not get back into full production soon.

Like many other industries, those in the awards and promotional products field are greatly affected by what’s happening in China. Many materials are sourced there, so much so that before the year 2000 most lapel pins, coins, and medallions were only made in China.

With all of the uncertainty in the market, there are a few American companies, including us at Total Awards & Promotions, that have been working with American-made components and selling American-made products for some time now. Some of us have even committed to finding vendors that only source materials and create promotional products that are made in America. However, that’s not the case for all vendors.

Businesses that may use products created overseas for rewards, recognition, and promotions should ask their vendors for confirmed delivery dates on any orders so that their event or presentation is not delayed due to a lag in production or delivery times.

Let’s hope things return to “normal” soon.

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