Understanding Factors that affect lead times
There are many factors that affect lead times in manufacturing. Anthony and John from Fostermation discuss what’s involved in planning.
The biggest things with the lead I would say would probably be availability of material, the complexity of the parts that you’re looking at to get produced, if it fits in our wheelhouse, if we have the capabilities to do it, how much engineering, how much subcontracting or additional requirements that are needed to get the part.
John Ritchey, II:
Capacity; how much work’s in prior to your order. And with a lot of that being said though, is most likely, the material is the biggest one for lead times for us. Our typical lead times are pretty consistent, and with the capacity that we have, we have quite a few machines to be able to keep up with a lot of production; we’re a high-volume job shop and that’s our wheelhouse. That’s what we’re known for is high-volume turnaround time, basically, is material and then subcontracting that usually pushes us out, but more or less I mean that’s basically for us is material.
Yeah. Another thing with lead times that will definitely help is if there’s any type of plan, or making us aware, or knowing any type of plan scheduling or any type of we call them to release programs, or–
Yeah, estimated usage or whatever. If you give us a volume of say, like 400,000 pieces. You don’t want them all right now, okay yeah, we can do like a consignment or release. This is like quarterly releases or something like that, that’s huge because then we can just set up and run everything out before, or less I guess, to giving you an estimated lead time. So hey, we know you want this in a year. You’re consuming all these parts within a year, then it’s a lot easier to base that lead time off of that. When most of the time, when you’re quoting, we always ask for EAU and if we can get something back, if there’s a minimum requirement, it goes a long way for us.
The more scheduling and the more information we have available, or that you have available, effectively allows us to plan accordingly. Tooling, too, very rarely would I see tooling necessarily pushing lead times out but, tooling could be a factor especially if there’s any customized tooling. Customized tooling I see usually average four to six weeks, whereas if it’s more basic tooling, we can get in three days to– three to ten business days. So tooling could be a factor too with lead times, but like John said, more or less our biggest factor is probably the material with us being a custom manufacturer, we do bring all material into requirements specifications into the order of the volume that you require. So for material, depending on situations, I’ve seen material quotes we can get material in three to five days; average I’d say is two to four weeks, but I’ve had seen quotes depending on grades, and again, on their volume– on our raw material vendors volume– kind of what they got going on. I’ve seen material quotes six to eight to ten weeks out.
And I mean if you’re like, basically our terminal pins. We have a lot of customers that request terminal pins, and it’s a basic part. If there’s something like, our lead times can be a lot shorter then because it’s not much of a changeover. Our setup time is a lot quicker, and we produce a lot of the same wire diameters and everything like that. So the more complex of a part more–
Tooling changeovers, the more you have to set up machines, the more complex it gets into…
I mean, if you’re more of an uncommon job, it’s going to take longer but we can turn around terminal pins very fast. The wire diameter is a big problem with us anymore because everything in the last few years has dropped down to where we need parts tomorrow, and it used to be where customers didn’t– they knew what they needed. With everything and the uncertainty of everything is going on anymore, everybody gets an order in. We’re gonna sit on this one, all right. Well, back in the day, we knew what was guaranteed. We used to have a warehouse full of wire. Now we bring in the minimum what we need because we sit on that. That’s a lot of overhead, and you pay taxes on it too. So anything’s sitting there. But if you know that you have a certain number of parts that we can get, it’s gonna turn around and be a lot quicker for you. Order minimum’s thousand pounds of material, we have it on hand, here we are. We can turn around and get you set up. We have everything there. Like I said, the material is our biggest problem anymore. Also the difficulty of the part, too. The more difficult of a part, the more machining time, more cycle time, and that’s where that adds up. You want 5000 pieces of this part that we’re drilling, milling, broaching, sliding, threading, and grinding. And then you got the subcontracting of heating, post-plating it just adds into things. If you want a simple terminal pin, we can get you turned around pretty fast.