Last week I published the results of poll in which I asked installers to tell me what their current lead times were. You can view the results and read my analysis of them and what it means for the industry here. But for balance, I though it would be a good idea to try and gauge what the average lead time is in the manufacturing and fabrication world.

So here’s another poll for you to take part in!

Installer vs fabricator

In a post kindly put together for DGB by Universal Arches MD Leon Day, which you can read here, he explored the idea of extremely short fabrication lead times and if indeed we really need them, given that so many installers were looking at lead times well over a month.

The aim of this poll is to try and find out what the average lead time of the fabrication market is right now and compare that to the poll results from the installers poll. I suspect that there are going to be very different results this time round.

Given that there are a number of high profile fabricators and suppliers that advertise their products manufactured and delivered in less than a working week, the results could show a very short lead time. And depending what the final results will be in a few weeks time, there could be a few debates that need to be had.

A debate to be had

There will be a number of conversations to have once the final results of both polls are known. For example, if the results show that the average lead time is two weeks or less, and most installers are working on leads times nearing two months, then you have to question why suppliers put themselves under such pressure. It would appear that there is no need to.

If though the lead time for fabricators works out at around four weeks, which I personally believe is a fair amount of time to wait for a quality product to be made, then there is another debate to be had, which is how installers are going about order their products with their suppliers.

Installers and their orders

There is a likely scenario playing out with installers who have monster lead times. Instead of ordering products early on, installers are most likely sitting on orders until they absolutely have to order them, leaving their suppliers an absolute minimum amount of time in which to manufacture and deliver the products. This leaves the supplier no time in which to correct any potential errors that might be found and still deliver the product on time.

Moreover, ordering habits like this mean a fabricator cannot run an efficient production line, with orders coming in spurts rather than a regular flow. This also has an impact on cash flow. There will be quiet periods from certain installers then big movements of cash when bills are due.

All of this combines to make life difficult for fabricators. But this is a topic best left reserved for once the poll is complete and the results are known.

So, if you’re a fabricator and reading this, please take a second to vote in the poll below before you click away on to something else!

As soon as I feel I have enough votes for an accurate result I’ll close it and compare both polls.

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