Delivery lead times slashed for post-pandemic IT products and services

IT products and services firms have reduced their delivery lead time delays by almost half over the last two years, new data has revealed.

Unleashed’s Product Lead Time Index used data from its inventory management software to track how product fulfilment has changed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

According to the index, IT products and services firms were one of the top industries to slash their lead times compared to pre-pandemic levels, dropping by 46.50 per cent between 2019/20 and 2021/22.

The analysis of more than 2,500 businesses and 25 different sub-sectors shows which ones experienced the most severe shortages during the COVID-19 crisis, and which recovered fastest as it subsided.

The three top sub-sectors with the biggest reduction in lead times since the height of the pandemic are:

  • Food (including fruit and vegetables, baked goods, prepared meals, snacks, sauces, and condiments) 56.14%
  • Electronics and telecommunications 54.90%
  • Health, medical supplies, and equipment 53.71%

Office equipment and supplies came in a close fourth place with 51.73 per cent.

Lead time is defined as the amount of time between when a purchase order is placed to replenish products and when the order is received in the warehouse. These times can vary between suppliers, where typically the more suppliers involved in the chain, the longer the lead time is likely to be.

Stephen Jones, Regional Manager UK & EMEA at Unleashed said, “global supply chains are complex, and while the market has been more uncertain than usual, our data suggests that suppliers are working hard to build resilience. In fact, for many, the crises have only strengthened their resolve. Given how much lead times have dropped in some sub-sectors including IT products and services, their efforts are clearly paying off.

“Keeping a tight rein on inventory is essential at any time but particularly during periods of disruption. When product lead times are fluctuating, the right technology can quickly show you the actual vs expected lead times which allows you to manage customer expectations or look for alternative suppliers who can deliver faster.”

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