It’s a fact, customers do not like waiting. Waiting can be a source of frustration whether the customer is a patron at a restaurant or working on an assembly line waiting for the next part to finish an assembly. It takes accurate forecasting for efficient lead time management in today’s market. It can be difficult to respond to those changes, especially in a timely manner. It can be profitable to improve lead time management as it keeps customers from waiting. These four tips can help reduce and forecast lead times more effectively.

Increase Order Frequency

Purchasing orders in bulk is thought to save money. However, it can also lead to longer lead times. When you factor in lost sales or increased labor to manage inventory it can be more costly. Conduct a total cost analysis to see if there are indeed savings for ordering more frequently. Making smaller orders more often can help reduce lead times.

Provide Sales Forecasts

Communicate with your supplier to inform them of when they can expect a reorder based on your sales data. This helps them anticipate your needs and often speeds up the fulfillment process. In some instances, they can have your “usual” order set aside and ready for shipping as soon as you tell them it’s a go.

Provide Incentives

Tiered bonuses are a tool you can offer to supply chain vendors when they complete your orders on time or ahead of schedule. Suppliers will often give you a lead time. If they give you a lead time of 12 weeks but you’re going to need it in 10, you can offer an incentive. This can be instrumental in keeping you ahead of competition or coordinating your schedule with other projects.

Communication

Stay in touch with suppliers during the entire production process to help with lead time management and ensure expectations are being met. It also ensures any new issues can be addressed quickly. You can also provide key performance indicators to your supplier to help motivate them to achieve higher levels of service for you.

Take a minute to visit the Demand Solutions website for more information on lead time management.

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