4 Things You Should Know About LCD Lead Time

There are few things more frustrating than having your production line shutdown by just one missing component, which is why it’s important to understand what increases lead times of LCDs.

1. Chinese New Year

This occurs every year around February. Unlike our New Year that takes place on January 1st every year, this holiday begins sometime between January 21st and February 20th depending on when the new moon appears.

Even though the holiday lasts slightly more than two weeks, it produces delays lasting more than a month.

One of the main reasons for this delay is that a lot of the workers don’t return to work right after the holiday. Many don’t return to their old job at all, and instead find other openings with better pay or some other advantage.

This loss of workers equates to delays since time must be invested on training new workers.

If you need your LCDs in March or April, place the order in the previous November. 

2. Current Lead Time/Capacity

Your LCD supplier may be backlogged from one or two large orders.

Manufacturing facilities will not stop in the middle of producing one LCD to produce a small quantity of a different LCD. Once the assembly line is tooled up, it becomes unprofitable to halt production until the full order is completed.

Ask your supplier if they currently have capacity for your order.

3. LCD Technologies with Shortest Lead Times

Mature LCD technologies such as character and segment displays typically have the shortest lead times since there are several suppliers and their components are not as scarce.

TFTs have short lead times, but OLED delivery dates can be all over the board. One day you may be quoted a six-week lead time, another day it might jump to ten weeks. This unpredictability is due to the shortage of OLED manufacturing locations. If a large customer places a very large order, then you are bumped further down the list and weeks can be added to the lead time. 

4. Is Quoted Lead Time for Delivery or Complete Manufacturing?

Is the quoted lead time from your supplier when you receive product? Or when the factory will be ready to ship?

Many LCD suppliers ship their LCDs via boat, which adds several weeks to the delivery timeline. It is possible to ship product via Fed ex air, which reduces delivery to three days, but you can’t request this once the displays are on the boat. 

Solutions to Long LCD Lead Times

Find a supplier willing to sit on your inventory until you need it. Have them bring your order in a few weeks ahead of time. If your sales spike, then they can ship ASAP and you can avoid downtime. If sales are a bit slow on the uptake? Have them spread out the deliveries.

When choosing a display for your new OEM design, ask your supplier the following questions.

  1. Do they ship product via boat, or plane, or both?
  2. Are they able to hold inventory against a blanket PO?
  3. Is their quoted lead time the date when product is on your dock?
  4. Do they offer expedited services if you need product earlier?

If you have a large order, ask your supplier to ship 10% via air and 90% via boat.