* UPDATE (2/17/20): At this point, information on the virus is still being researched and changes daily. There are new speculations that the virus can remain live for up to 10 days, therefore some quarantine isolation periods of 14 days in some reports.
It’s a healthcare epidemic within the most populated country in the world, and the devastating effects are being felt worldwide. We won’t get into the specifics of the physical virus because, well, we’re not doctors (you’re welcome). What we ARE able to discuss is how it is affecting production and exportation of goods.
In this case specifically, promotional products.
The truth is – and you probably already know this – a ton of merchandise that we use every day is made in China.
The past couple of years have come with many challenges in commercial trade with China – tariffs being a huge part of those. The tariffs, however, seem to succeed in some of the ways they were intended – which was to rely less on goods from China and more on both domestic materials and production. Therefore, some in the U.S. were already utilizing resources outside of China for that reason by the time the virus reared up. That’s the only somewhat good news, if there is any.
That said, right now, many of our overseas promo factories are on hold in China due to the outbreak . Order production will likely continue to be delayed due to the recent rise in new cases recently confirmed in the Hubei province, but rest assured we are prepared.
How is INM handling these delays?
That’s a terrific question! Most of our products are hanging out on shelves here in the States, just waiting to be picked and decorated with a fun logo. They love it when that happens – it’s literally what they were made for.
Now, while most current inventory levels are more than sufficient to fulfill immediate orders, the extended production delays and backlogs could eventually cause inventory shortages for replenishment orders. In general, it’s possible that an item might sell out and not be available anymore. No need worrying about that yet.
We also have many sources for domestic production, and we are utilizing them when needed. Sometimes, we’ll need to find alternative merchandise from domestic factories. We remain very current on our production capabilities overseas, and are keeping those international limitations in mind when we come up with new product solutions.
* Can the virus be transmitted through imported products?
We were wondering the same thing.
The short answer is a resounding NO.
For those who are interested in the longer (but also condensed) answer, research shows that this virus appears to be most similar to influenza, which can only survive on surfaces for a couple of hours. Imports arriving from China by air are usually in transit for 3 days. Boat arrivals are obviously much longer – typically anywhere from 14 to 120 days. So, even if some of the products and packaging was exposed to the virus prior to exportation, it’s very unlikely that it would have survived on surfaces for products’ shipping duration.
Like everyone else, we truly hope this virus is contained in full very soon. In the meantime, nothing to worry about with your SWAG.