When it comes to large industrial and electrical construction projects, time really is money. These projects can experience delays due to scope changes, labor shortages, and even weather. Construction managers must manage many variables to stay on time and under budget, and one of their biggest headaches is long delivery lead times for materials and equipment. Timely material delivery can make the difference between a successful project and one plagued by schedule over-runs and dwindling margins. That’s why at Kris-Tech, we take pride in offering best in class lead times in the wire and cable industry.
Timely material delivery is just one of many concerns for construction project managers and electrical distributors, but long delivery times can have serious downstream consequences. Short, predictable lead times offer several benefits for large projects:
Greater Flexibility and Agility. It’s a given that construction crews can expect the unexpected. Project managers need maximum flexibility when faced with delays or schedule changes. With short lead times, they can get wire and cable on-site when it’s needed, even under changing circumstances.
Lower Costs. With shorter delivery times, construction managers don’t incur the expense of holding extra inventory on location before it’s used. They also benefit from the reduced risk of on-site material theft or damage. Short lead times also help minimize labor costs associated with an idle workforce waiting on product delivery.
Greater Speed. Every day on the job site costs money. Shorter lead times help electrical contractors meet ambitious construction timetables and avoid financial penalties associated with project delays.
Lead times can make all the difference for electrical distributors and contractors. So delivering on short targeted lead times requires collaboration across the wire manufacturing organization and a focus on several key elements:
Strong communication across teams may be the most crucial factor in meeting our lead time targets. Once our sales team speaks to the customer, they need to coordinate with procurement, operations, and our manufacturing scheduling team. Together, the combined team walks through every step required to ensure they can meet the customer’s delivery parameters, even before we receive the order.
2. Scheduling and Staffing
Scheduling is also critical when we’re managing expedited orders. Often it means adjusting our production schedule to prioritize a rush order ahead of jobs that have longer delivery windows. Our production schedule is dynamic and changes continually.
Scheduling also impacts our staff requirements, as trained manufacturing and operations personnel must be available to complete those expedited orders. That’s why Kris-Tech invests heavily in cross-training our team — it gives us greater flexibility and ensures we have experienced staff available at all times.
Sometimes meeting customer delivery requirements means extending our production hours. While we generally operate five days a week, 24 hours a day, our team will often work weekends to fulfill urgent customer requests.
3. Smarter Stocking
Short lead times have always been a big differentiator for Kris-Tech, and those years of experience have helped us develop smarter stocking strategies. For example, we forecast our requirements and hold partially finished products in stock. When we receive an order, often we’ve already extruded and jacketed the copper and have it in inventory. That can dramatically speed up turnaround times.
We’re also working with our larger customers to evolve our stocking capabilities. Our goal is to be as proactive as possible and partner with those customers to customize and stock inventory for them. With this approach, we’re prepared for when a customer calls and needs something urgently — we can pull it off the shelf and ship it right away.
Finally, to minimize lead times for customers across the country, we work with our distributor partners to inventory products in other geographic regions. For example, if a customer in California needs an order, we can often pull it from our regional warehouse to minimize shipping times.
4. A Strong Supply Chain
Another key to keeping lead times short is our approach to sourcing the materials needed to manufacture the products. Almost all of our requirements are sourced here in the US, and we even have local suppliers right here in the area. Sometimes, when we’re running low on something, it’s great to jump in the truck and go get it.
It would be almost impossible to meet our lead-time commitments without having great relationships with our suppliers. We benefit from a lot of give and take and helping each other out, and over time we’ve created strong bonds with many of our vendor partners. Those relationships pay dividends when you need to do something extraordinary for a customer.
Providing the best available delivery lead times for wire manufacturing is a big part of our company culture. Every employee, in any function, will happily jump in to help fulfill a customer requirement. We also meet regularly across departments to review our delivery performance metrics and explore ways to shave those turnaround times even more.
Here at Kris-Tech, our goal isn’t just to beat industry lead times — it’s to redefine them. While many wire and cable companies quote standard lead times of three or four weeks, we set our targets at seven or eight days.
Subscribe to the Kris-Tech Blog