February 2010

In This Issue:
• Lead Time in China Production
 — China Production Timing
 — Tips for speeding things up
 — Chinese Holiday
• Case Study: Viva Life Membership Kits
• Meet the staff: Maggie Du
• Upcoming Events


  China Printing Solutions: A Resource for Quality Printing in China

Lead times in China Production:
(Tips on managing lead time for overseas production)


Working overseas has its advantages, but also does require a bit of planning when it comes to lead time. Typical turn times for China printing projects are 6-8 weeks including shipping, depending on your location. Of course larger or more complex projects will require more time. In this month's newsletter we offer some tips for managing China production lead time.

China Production Timing:

1. PRE-PRODUCTION:

Dummy (white sample) preparation time:
While Express Courier each way is normally only 2-3 days, in all this may add a week or so to preparation time. For special paper and cloth materials that require additional order times or complex products that demand engineering or several rounds of prototypes, it would be wise to plan 2-4 weeks for preparation.
Preflight and file ready time: For suppliers with professional preflight software, it takes as little as one hour to check hundreds of pages. Since the software is only capable of finding general problems such as low-dpi photos, pages without bleed or color space problems, a manual check is required as well to detect other innacuracies such as incorrect spelling or missing page numbers.

2. PRODUCTION:

Production itself requires about the same amount of time in China as anywhere else. If the item requires a lot of hand labor, less time is generally needed due to the possibility of adding many laborers to the job. However it is wise to make sure that all requirements are clearly stated and all production conditions clearly understood before the job begins, as any confusion will cause unnecessary delay. (For more on communication of production requirements, see January 2010 newsletter on "Quality Management in China")


3. SHIPPING:


While production time in China may be the same or less than that of your local printer, shipping time indeed makes the difference. The below chart provides some rules of thumb you can use to plan your shipping time:


Country
Estimate Shipping Time
North America
25-30 days for East Coast
15-20 days for West Coast
South America
25-32 days
Australia
13-15 days
Europe
25-30 days
Japan
3-7 days

In addition to the actual shipping time, you must take into account the time for customs clearance (usually 2-3 days), GST Settlement (Australia) and potential delays due to additional customs inspections, poor weather conditions or other unforeseeable events. For more shipping information, please click here.


Tips for speeding things up:

• Communicate clearly what you want in writing, preferably with samples and/or photos, so that preproduction and production results will be more accurate.

• If the product is simple and you trust your supplier, forego some lesser sample stages and accept photos and reports instead. China Printing Solutions International provides a "Preflight report," “Prepress Proof”, “Firstbound Production Samples” and a "Final Inspection Report with Photos" to enable your inspection and feedback at each critical step. This will save you time compared to sending the real sample to you directly. But this method has its risks, better to allow needed time.

• Partial air shipment is the fastest way to get the final samples on hand for urgent use, but it’s always very expensive to do so. The rough FedEx fees are around $20/kg to Australia, $28/kg to US/UK and $45/kg to South America or South Africa.

• Look for ways to speed up shipping. For instance, sailing to the East Coast of the United States via the Panama Canal is cheaper but takes longer. Full containers will clear customs faster. If using multiple containers, you should plan to ship them one by one.

• What NOT to do....fail to leave enough time and then push your supplier excessively to finish faster. While something can always be done, “Haste makes Waste” and nothing slows a job down like a rework. If you can’t leave enough time, perhaps the job is not suitable for China or your planning is not realistic.


Chinese Holidays:

Modern China operates according to two separate calendars, the Chinese or Lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar used in the West. The traditional Chinese calendar, which has been in existence for over 2500 years, changes from year to year, and is the calendar used exclusively for Chinese Holidays.

Most important of these ancient holidays is the Chinese New Year, a week long holiday that this year will be celebrated from February 13th to February 21th. When planning your production, take into consideration this and other holidays that may disrupt working schedules. For the longer holidays, expect some work slowdowns, supply chain delays or other irregularities in the days preceding and following the actual holiday dates. Below is an overview of China holidays in 2010.

Holiday Name
Holiday
Number of Days Off
New Year’s Day
Jan 1-3
3 Days
Chinese New Year
Feb 13-21
7 Days
Grave Sweeping Day
Apr 3-5
3 Days
Labor Day
May 1-3
3 Days
Dragon Boat Festival
June 14-16
3 Days
Mid-Autumn Festival
Sept 22-24
3 Days
National Day
Oct 1-7
7 Days

Case Study:
Viva Life Membership Kits


Client: Viva Photography

Project Name: Viva Life Membership Kits

Description:
Viva Photography is a fast growing, high end Photography retail franchise in Australia. The company is an experienced print buyer but had never worked in China before and had concerns about quality, communication and cooperation. A flurry of ideas and solutions at our first meeting set the tone. In this, our first project together, a VIP membership kit including card, card sleeve, voucher booklet, hard case box, belly band and gift bag were beautifully produced.

Key Challenges: Being the client’s first print project in China, CPS offered numerous design and material suggestions to create the most perfect product possible.

Techniques Used: 4 color offset printing, 4 color silkscreen printing, perforation, lamination, embossing, perfect binding, hand assembly.

Meet the Staff:
Maggie Du | Senior Production Coordinator

Maggie, a native of Northern China’s Shan Xi Province, has been involved in the printing business since she was a teenager. After graduating from the Science and Technology University of Shan Xi, (where she majored in printing,) she moved to Southern China to work at various printing factories including RR Donnelly.

Maggie and her husband have lived in Shanghai since 2006. Known for working well under pressure, she fits in very well both in Shanghai with it’s famously busy 20 million inhabitants and at China Printing Solutions, juggling many different projects at once. Maggie serves as a Senior Production Coordinator and enjoys traveling to the beaches of Vietnam whenever given the opportunity.




Maggie can be reached at maggie(at)chinaprintingsolutions.com.

Upcoming Events
Feb-Apr, 2010

SPECIAL NOTICE: LUNAR NEW YEAR FEBRUARY 13-21
China Printing Solutions, like most other businesses, will be closed from February 13 to February 21 in observance of the Lunar New Year Holiday. Happy Year of the Tiger!

March 02: Sign China Expo


March 09: Printing South China


March 09-11: Sino-Pack 2010



IN THE NEXT ISSUE:
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