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HomeIndustriesHash Manufacturing AutomationA Simplified Guide to Lead Time Meaning

A Simplified Guide to Lead Time Meaning

Lead time is a crucial concept in the world of business and manufacturing. The meaning of lead time refers to the amount of time between the initiation of a process and its completion. This can include everything from the time it takes to order raw materials to the time it takes to deliver a finished product to a customer.

In many cases, lead time can be a major factor in determining the success of a business. As such, understanding and managing lead time is an essential part of effective supply chain management and production planning.


What is the Meaning of Lead Time?

The meaning of lead time is the duration between the beginning and end of a process. It is evaluated in manufacturing, project management, and supply chain management. This includes the pre-processing, processing, and post-processing stages. Then, its effectiveness is measured by comparing it against established benchmarks.

Also Read: Best Cloud Manufacturing ERP Software for Singapore Enterprise

How Does Lead Time Work?

Lead time affects production processes and inventory management. Longer lead times caused by transportation issues, on-site production, or inefficient inventory management can slow down or halt production, reducing output and ROI. They can negatively impact sales and manufacturing processes by causing inefficiencies and resource wastage.

Therefore, businesses must analyze their processing times and identify ways to improve their lead time to streamline operations and increase productivity, which can ultimately result in higher revenues and profits. To shorten lead times and speed up production, businesses can use locally sourced parts and labor and offsite sub-assemblies.

lead time meaning

Effective inventory management is also necessary to maintain production schedules and meet customer demand, as stockouts can be costly for a company’s bottom line. By reducing stockouts and lead times, companies can increase sales, customer satisfaction, and overall profitability.

4 Types of Lead Time

There are four types of lead time that businesses should take into account when setting expectations for a manufacturing process. These types are related to each other and can be combined to create a total lead time, which gives you an overall picture of the time required for the manufacturing process.


Customer lead time refers to the duration from the moment a customer places an order to when they receive the product. It consists of various stages. Those stages are the time between order placement and order confirmation receipt by the company, the entire manufacturing process, shipping process, and delivery process.


lead time meaning

This type refers to the duration between a company’s awareness of the need for raw materials and the actual acquisition of those materials. Inventory management systems often alert companies when orders are processed. This lead time can be influenced by factors such as low inventory levels and the efficiency of the ordering, shipping, delivery, and fulfillment processes used by suppliers.


Production lead time starts after a company has acquired all the required materials. It is the duration between the point when a company has all the necessary resources to begin manufacturing a product and the completion of the manufacturing process.

The production lead time is influenced by internal factors, such as machinery downtime, waste, labor, equipment efficiency, and the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). In order to have efficient production process, businesses leverage the best manufacturing software with integrated features and functionalities that suit their needs.


Cumulative lead time is the combination of various lead times, and businesses can track multiple cumulative lead times. For instance, they might be interested in monitoring the internal lead time, which includes the duration between sourcing raw materials and completing the final product manufacturing process.

6 Components of Lead Time

Lead time is an essential element in various industries. There are several components that contribute to the overall lead time. Understanding these components of lead time can help businesses plan and manage their projects effectively, reducing delays, and improving customer satisfaction.


This is the period before the start of a process. It encompasses the time taken to receive a request for replenishment, comprehend it, and initiate a purchase order for procurement purposes or establish a job order for a manufacturing company.

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Processing time refers to the duration required to acquire or manufacture an item after receiving a purchase order. It varies significantly depending on the complexity of the item, availability of raw materials, and production capacity of the manufacturer. Thus, it is crucial for businesses to estimate the processing time accurately because delays in this phase can have a significant impact on the overall lead time and affect customer satisfaction.


lead time meaning

Waiting time refers to the duration between the acquisition of required materials and the commencement of the production process. It can also occur during the production process, where a delay may occur due to machine breakdowns or unavailability of labor. These unexpected waiting times can significantly affect the overall lead time of a project. It is essential to have contingency plans in place to minimize their impact.


The duration for which items remain in the warehouse or factory before delivery is the storage time. Effective storage management plays a vital role in ensuring timely delivery of products to customers. Proper storage practices such as first-in, first-out (FIFO), and proper inventory control help reduce storage time and minimize the risk of product spoilage.


lead time meaning

Transportation time is the duration it takes for a produced item to be delivered from the warehouse or factory to the customer. It is influenced by several factors, like the mode of transportation, distance, route, and any unforeseen delays like traffic or weather conditions. The efficiency and reliability of transportation play a crucial role in reducing lead time and ensuring timely delivery of goods to customers.


Inspection time refers to the duration a customer spends examining a product. It is to make sure that the product meets the desired specifications. Additionally, it also involves the time taken to address any issues or discrepancies that arise regarding the order request.



It is important for businesses to learn the meaning of lead time and how it works, along with its types and components. Managing lead time can be tricky and difficult. However, you can easily manage lead time while reducing human errors with the help of Hash Manufacturing Software from HashMicro. With its Productivity Solutions Grant up to 50%, you can worry less about the price. For more information, you can contact us here. Experience the free demo right now, seize the opportunity today!


Interest in getting savvy tips for improving your business efficiency?

Syifa Fadiyah
Syifa Fadiyah
In my role as a content writer, I regularly produced a few articles to assist businesses in need of a system. In addition, I authored a few helpful articles that are related to the method that businesses use.

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