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How long are lead times?

Lead times vary by product, industry, and material. Some Lawton foundries have found that their customers aren’t putting in orders soon enough to compensate for those longer lead times. And we know we’re not alone. Today, we’ll take a quick look at what lead times are, why they’re so long, and what we can do about it.

How long are lead times?

Lead times at record highs and ‘still accelerating,'” said Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in an article by Shefali Kapadia in Supply Chain Dive noted in July 2021.

The same article said, “The lead time for production materials rose from 85 days in May to 88 days in June, which is the highest figure since ISM began collecting data in 1987. Lead time for maintenance, repair and operating supplies increased from 42 to 45 days, while lead time for CapEx decreased from 148 days to 144 days.

“Extended lead times are particularly affecting electronic supplies, which includes semiconductors. One respondent to ISM’s June 2021 Manufacturing Report on Business said lead times for electronic components went from 16 weeks to more than 52 weeks.”

Why are supply chains bottlenecked?

Snyder Diamond helps us understand why supply chains are still so disrupted. “Sick workers. Factory shutdowns. Shipping delays. Steep tariffs. Lost products. Backlogs. Raw material shortages. It’s not one problem that’s disrupting the global supply chain; it’s dozens of them causing chaos in a domino-effect-style breakdown.” And that’s not to mention now, also, war.

What can we do about it?

Every industry is different, but the advice for the networking equipment from Simon Sharwood at The Register might be helpful for all of us. Here are a few highlights from his article.

Get yourself to the front of vendors’ queues by spending more money with one supplier.

“Vendors are not operating on a first-in-first-out concept for orders,” the document states. If you’re willing to place big orders, you may therefore find yourself closer to the head of a queue.

Gartner advises buyers not to assume that all vendors have the same supply chain challenges, so while going all-in with a new vendor has challenges, it’s also a way to seize the opportunity presented by those companies that have managed their affairs well.

Another suggestion is to look for capacity you’re not using.

Locally, Ann Franz, director of The NEW Manufacturing Alliance, made similar suggestions in an interview with Lawton.

Many companies responded that they have supply chain constraints. That’s going to be a huge issue in 2022 still. Companies are going to need to be thinking differently. Work with your suppliers, and ask, “What do you have in your inventory?” Or check with other manufacturers and see if you can help find things through non-traditional means.

Are you struggling with supply chain constraints? Find out our lead times and how we can help you, contact a metals expert directly today.