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

Kenya’s Timothy Cheruyiot took the mile in a world-leading time of 3:50.49. Jeff Faraudo, The Mercury News, "As controversy follows speedy Caster Semenya, she continues to not ‘give a damn’," 30 June 2019 On average, its forecasts with 18 months’ lead time came within three percentage points of actual yearly price changes. The Economist, "For now, residential-property prices are likely to keep rising," 29 June 2019 Most of these gowns will still require at least nine months’ lead time (if not more) so they can be made to measure and altered in a timely fashion. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Will 2020 Be the Year the Bridal Market Finally Gets Modern?," 9 Apr. 2019 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 Compared with his father, Kim Jong Il, the current dictator had little lead time before taking the reins. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "North Korea’s Kim, Long a Pariah, Takes Tentative Step Onto World Stage," 28 Mar. 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

15 Jul 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

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