lead time

\ ˈlēd- How to pronounce lead time (audio) \

Definition of lead time

: the time between the beginning of a process or project and the appearance of its results

Examples of lead time in a Sentence

We will need at least six months lead time before production begins.

Recent Examples on the Web

But this shorter lead time is a major talking point among bridal designers and stores. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Will 2020 Be the Year the Bridal Market Finally Gets Modern?," 9 Apr. 2019 Companies will have to hold inventories longer, and the longer lead times mean retailers could be stuck with extra products that don’t sell. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "Imports Surge at U.S. Ports as Companies Brace for New Tariffs," 15 Nov. 2018 Orders ship with a two-week lead time, and Anthropologie is offering free shipping on orders over $200. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Farrow & Ball launches whimsical wallpaper at Anthropologie," 27 Aug. 2018 Big projects such as building aircraft carriers require long lead times and likely won’t show up in military spending for several more quarters, Mr. Harrison said. Kate Davidson, WSJ, "A Big Reason U.S. Economy Is Accelerating: Government Spending," 25 Oct. 2018 Blasting a space rock apart with a nukewouldn't be the first choice of most scientists or policymakers, but such an extreme measure may be the only way to deal with a big space rock detected with little lead time. Mike Wall, Space.com, "About 17,000 Big Near-Earth Asteroids Remain Undetected: How NASA Could Spot Them," 10 Apr. 2018 But this time, the lead time went beyond eight days. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "Why weather forecasters still struggle to get the big storms right," 6 Apr. 2018 Lake Brantley junior Damarius Good ran area-leading times of 10.63 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.88 in the 200 to win both of the boys dashes at the National Trainiong Center. Buddy Collings, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Fast district times on fast track at National Training Center," 12 Apr. 2018 Snap is also using more mainstream suppliers that require less lead time to produce components for Spectacles and have been able to learn manufacturing lessons from the first version. Georgia Wells, WSJ, "Snap Tries Again With High-Tech Specs," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lead time.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lead time

1944, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for lead time

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for lead time

The first known use of lead time was in 1944

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More Definitions for lead time

lead time


Financial Definition of lead time

What It Is

Lead time is the amount of time between ordering something and receiving it.

How It Works

For example, let's say Company XYZ makes and sells widgets. It has a customer, ABC Company, that wants to buy 10,000 widgets to put in its retail stores in October for the Christmas season.

It takes two weeks to get the widget parts and a week to assemble 10,000 units, so Company XYZ has a lead time of about a month. That means that it must get the order from ABC company no later than September 1 in order to make the delivery on time.

Why It Matters

Lead time is a crucial part of managing a manufacturing business or any business that involves waiting for supplies or products to arrive. Generally, the lower the lead time, the more flexible a company is and the faster it can respond to changes in trends. However, shorter lead times can cost more money if the buyer has to pay for overtime, expedited shipping costs, or other rush charges. This in turn makes it difficult to say whether shortening lead time will increase profits, though it usually will increase customer satisfaction.

Source: Investing Answers

lead time


English Language Learners Definition of lead time

: the time between the beginning of a process or project and the appearance of its results

More from Merriam-Webster on lead time

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lead time

Comments on lead time

What made you want to look up lead time? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something valued as if it were money

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