COVID-19 Impact on Lead Time Trends
Now that we are well into the COVID-19 pandemic and are beginning to see signs of reopening in the manufacturing world and beyond, we now have the ability to look at the data to determine the full impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain. For example, by analyzing the lead time trends from February through April, equipment manufacturers can get a greater understanding of the extent of the effects COVID-19 has had on the electronics manufacturing market, thus allowing them to make more informed decisions on how to best source critical electronic components and semiconductors for their product lifecycles.
The story that the lead time data tells is mixed, and while some component manufacturers have been affected by COVID-19 more than others, there has not been a radical jump in lead times across the board. In some cases, in fact, lead times remained relatively stable. Based on our data, for example, lead times for component manufacturers such as Murata Electronics, AVX, KEMET Electronics, and TE Connectivity remained relatively unchanged with only approximately one week of variation between February and March (in KEMET Electronics’ case, lead times actually saw a net decrease of one week). Manufacturers such as Analog Devices, Cypress Semiconductors, and Avago Technologies, meanwhile, only experienced modest lead time increases.
In other cases, however, the increases are much more pronounced, implying that COVID-19 is not affecting component manufacturers the same way, either because of inherent protections against disruption or factory location. Zilog, for example, experienced a net increase in average lead times of seven weeks between February and April, while Cooper Bussmann and Dale – Vishay experienced a net increase of five weeks.
It should be noted, however, that even a modest lead time increase of even two or three weeks is still enough for an equipment manufacturer to experience tangible supply chain disruption. Deadlines are tight by nature, and once expectations are set, even small variations can result in significant reverberations in other parts of the manufacturing process. Tracking even the smallest changes in variables such as lead times, pricing, and inventory quantities is absolutely critical to any equipment manufacturer’s inventory acquisition process. Although many component suppliers are resuming production and a degree of relief may be seen with regards to lead times in the coming months, equipment manufacturers must remain vigilant to sudden changes — especially in times like these mired by uncertainty.
Lead time data and much more can be seen in easily digestible trending charts, for free, using Partstat’s Part Search. With a free Partstat account, manufacturers can also be notified when inventory becomes available through our Part Alert system, browse supplier line cards, and even email RFQs to hundreds of global authorized distributors right from their customer dashboard.