Businesses and organizations that are mindful of long lead time – that is, the wait between ordering stock and receiving it – can take steps to better navigate complex global supply chains.
Increased material demand (among other factors) can strain manufacturing operations, resulting in longer lead time. That’s why it’s important for organizations to follow strategies that can help them best pursue goals and serve constituents (customers, communities, etc.) in the midst of waiting for material.
6 helpful ways to navigate long lead time
- Work with a distributor that can meet the organization’s needs. It helps to choose a distributor that is not only committed to the organization’s success, but has a large geographical reach, vast vendor network and warehouses close by.
- Provide the distributor with accurate demand forecasts. It helps to let the distributor know when to expect reorders based on demand data and detailed records. This way, the distributor can likely anticipate the organization’s needs and speed up the fulfillment process.
- Consider increasing order frequency. Placing the occasional bulk order might sound like it can save money, but if it leads to long lead time, the opposite can prove to be true. These orders usually take longer to fulfill and ship. Rather than placing one bulk order from time to time, smaller and more frequent orders can help the distributor respond more quickly and accurately.
- Use standard components when possible. Not only can this save time in engineering and production, it can help reduce costs without compromising performance.
- Strengthen communication. Touching base with the distributor throughout the ordering process helps ensure that expectations are being met and issues are being addressed. Problems can get identified and solved faster when there is good communication.
- Embrace automation. Handling orders via manual processes increases the risk of error. Seamlessly track purchase orders, stock levels, sales data and carrying costs with an automated inventory management system. This can help create orders when stock runs low, saving time and increasing satisfaction.