I have closed my poll in which I asked fabricators to tell me how long their current lead times were. The poll showed up some very interesting results. So lets get right to it. These are the results:

That’s a resounding result, with 43% of fabricators saying their lead time is between 0-2 weeks. What I was surprised to see was the sudden jump to 6-8 weeks. I presumed that as the lead time options got longer, the lower the percentages would go. But this was not the case. There was also a few votes cast for the even longer lead time options. How many installers would be prepared to wait 12 weeks or more for their products?

Relationship between installer and fabricator

In a previous poll I did some research into the lead times of installers. It turned out that many were running on a lead time up to 8 weeks long. Naturally this shows that installers are strong at the moment, a good sign for the industry.

But with a lot of fabricators on a 0-2 week lead time, you have to wonder how installers are going about ordering their products from fabricators. I suspect that a lot are ordering their products much closer to the proposed installation date. They won’t want to order their products as soon as the final survey is completed. They’ll end up having their windows and doors stuck in their stores for 6 weeks, in which time they will have been invoiced and paid for. All before actual installation and bills paid by home owners to the installer. Whilst this helps installers and their cash flow, it’s not great for fabricators.

If they are given an order from an installer, two weeks from when the installer wishes to fit the products, that puts pressure on the fabricator to get those products produced, delivered and without fault in such a short lead time. I suspect that this is a scenario for many fabricators, and will be putting them under pressure to run an efficient and cost effective production line.

Should installers be thinking about their suppliers when it comes to winning business? Should they be putting orders through when they get them? Or is it OK for installers to sit on orders until they need to be ordered so as to protect their cash flows? This is an issue that affects all of us, so please leave your comments and feedback via the section below.

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