It’s been a pretty busy few weeks at our place. Lots of large orders coming in thick and fast and of all kinds. Roofline, windows and doors, glazed extensions, bi-folds. A wide and varied range which is a good thing. Our lead time right now is about seven weeks. It’s been less, it’s been more. But I started to wonder, how long is too long?

Is there a limit?

How long would you want to wait for something once you had agreed to buy it? When you buy a sofa you generally have to wait for 12 weeks. When you buy something online from places like Amazon you can have it the next day if you wish. Would you wait seven weeks? Would you want it quicker? Would you not mind if it were a little bit longer? I posed this question on Twitter and got a few replies back:

The view from the industry tends to be that the longer the lead time the better the company seems to be doing. A fair assumption I think. If a window company can turn around orders in the space of a week or two, you have to start wondering why. They’re either quiet or have a shed load of extra fitting teams on standby ready for the extra work. It’s probably not the latter.

It appears then that there is no such thing as too long. But as another Twitter user mentioned on Monday, the skill of the consultant is tested to persuade that their products are worth the months waiting for. Those designing and installing quality products will find that easy. Those near the bottom end of the market might find that task a bit more difficult.

Are super-fast delivery times really needed?

I’ve seen a lot of companies tweeting saying they have worked booked in for up to 16 weeks in advance. That is a long time ahead, and a great achievement to get home owners to agree to such a long waiting time. But when I see these sorts of lead times being talked about, it does make me question whether the industry needs it’s suppliers to turn around products in a matter of days, never mind weeks.

Door-Stop International and Origin are two companies that are very well known for the rapid time in which they turn their products around. They have changed the way the industry think about production and delivery waiting times for installers.

But in all honestly, how many of us need an aluminium bi-fold door in 48 hours? Or a composite door in 3 days? Yes there will be those occasions where on-site blunders mean replacement products will be needed quickly. However with so many of us claiming lead times into the many weeks, if not months, are such rapid turnaround times needed.

They must put pressure on the companies providing these services. Anyway, I have provided a couple of polls that I’d love to have your feedback on. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and before you leave, just take a couple more seconds to give the polls a click and leave a comment in the section below if you feel like you have something to add!

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