When purchasing in the manufacturing field, you have heard of lead time, which is the time it takes to manufacture your product once it goes into production. There are many variables that tie into lead time and today we're going to break it down to see why a component that seems simple to make may take weeks to months to receive.
Here is what is tied into account when estimating a lead time for your component:
Gathering material, setup (setting up the machine to produce the part from raw bar stock), labor (the machinist running/operating the machine), run time/cycle time (how long it takes the machine to produce a single piece / how long the machine needs to run to fulfill the order), offsite work (plating, anodizing, passivation, heat treating, etc.), and shipment time (the time it takes to pack up the parts and time spent in transit before the customer to receives them).
A great example to help understand lead time is this fast fact from Investopedia.
“...lead time is the time needed to process a passport. If you're planning on traveling internationally, prepare to get your passport renewed months in advance of your trip; the government estimates the lead time for routine passport processing as 8 to 11 weeks" (Investopedia.com).
The lead time will vary depending on the materials and how many parts are needed. In manufacturing, there are three types of lead times.
Customer Lead Time
Customer lead time accounts for when the customer places the order and when they receive the order.
Material Lead Time
Material lead time accounts for when the customer places the order and how long it takes for the manufacturer to receive the raw material at their facility.
Production Lead Time
Production lead time is once all materials are gathered at the manufacturing facility and the manufacturer begins machining the part or components.
Swiss Technologies of New England and Stone Medical know the importance of our customer's parts and components and we always strive to have the fastest lead time possible for their projects.