Although rising raw materials prices, transport costs and customs duties can threaten a company’s margins, nothing has a greater impact than production downtimes. As a consequence, lead times are increasingly in the spotlight. Our survey on lead times and the subsequent interviews with experts revealed that ensuring stability and reliability is more important than fast or cost-effective transport methods.
For decades, we took prompt deliveries for granted, even if goods had to travel halfway around the world. Then the coronavirus hit and the ensuing changes in the transport industry are still affecting us. Some rates for sea and air freight have risen drastically, while reliability has fallen significantly. This has forced companies across all industrial sectors to rethink their existing lead times strategies and align them with possible new supply chains. We have identified four particular trends: