I’ve received more encouraging news over the last few days from our team in China with regards to the Coronavirus crisis.
As things stand, 85% of our suppliers are now open and working again (up from 70% last week), albeit not all at full capacity because some employees are still stranded after the Chinese New Year holiday in locations with ongoing travel restrictions.
However, our biggest Chinese supplier is now operating with 90% of its workforce back in action and our second biggest has 60% of its workforce back; and they have both confirmed that our orders placed for February and March have already been manufactured. Because Mila represents a significant portion of these suppliers’ turnover, our work is obviously being prioritised, and I’m pleased to say that some shipments from them are already on their way to us.
As you would expect, the Chinese government continues to impose extremely strict guidelines and health and safety protocols on employers and individual citizens to try to contain the Coronavirus spread. As well as imposing a blanket restriction on group meetings, these also require every citizen to complete an online health declaration in order to get a QR code delivered to their phone (Red, Amber, or Green). With checkpoints now in place across the whole country, only those with a Green code can move freely, even around areas where travel is not restricted.
Our own staff in China are obviously subject to exactly the same travel restrictions as everyone else and, while they tell us that they are frustrating and inconvenient at times, they do seem to be slowly starting to work.
Ironically, it seems that concern about the potential spread of Coronavirus has now moved from China to countries like Italy and South Korea. While the virus remains so unpredictable, it’s impossible to look too far ahead but, if things continue as they are, then the current modelling reports I’m receiving from our supply chain department are all very positive.
As I’ve said previously, at current order levels, we still hold 13 weeks of stock in the UK and we are continuing to communicate regularly and openly with all our customers so that hopefully they know there is no reason for them to hold extra stock for themselves.