Is there anything more frustrating for a customer than calling a powder coating shop and being told that the lead time is 4-5 weeks?
I get it, and I’m here to help.
First, I want to reframe how we look at lead times. While a long lead time is an understandable source of frustration, it’s also a really good sign: as a customer, you’ve picked a reputable, in-demand shop, and that should bring you some peace of mind. You won’t find long lead times at bad businesses.
If you’re the small business with the long lead time, then good for you! You’re staying busy, and I hope that means you’re thriving.
If a customer calls Kaser and says they have 50 linear feet of railing (which is fairly common for a new house build) that needs to be installed by Thursday, I’m going to have to give them some bad news: we’re 4-5 weeks out.
Sure, we’ll try to bend the schedule as much as we can, but we can’t leapfrog other customers who have already been waiting their turn. So unfortunately, that customer won’t have their railings powder coated in time for inspection.
That’s a stressful scenario that could have easily been avoided through the magic of scheduling.
When I say “lead time,” I’m not talking about the time it takes to actually blast, pretreat, and powder coat the part – I’m talking about the weeks the part spends sitting idly on our campus, awaiting its turn.
Once the blasting process gets started, we’re looking at one week before the part is powder coated and back in the customer’s hands.
If you agree with me that one week is better than five, then here’s my advice to you: call us in advance and get on our schedule.
If you’re building a house, have the railing fabricator call when they’re starting production. If they can give us an estimate of when the part will be assembled, and let us know when they need it back, I can easily put them on my calendar so that we can get to work on the part as soon as it arrives. The part will spend one week at Kaser, and will be back in the customer’s hands before they even realize it was gone.
Boom! No more long lead times. It’s that simple.
The truth is that like most small businesses, Kaser loves scheduling future work. It means that we know we will be able to keep our team busy, and we know our customers are happier when their parts spend less time at our facility. We have some customers who are very thoughtful about scheduling with us, and we always help them meet their deadlines. It’s a win-win for everyone.
In an ideal world, we’d be getting to work on parts the day they arrive in our lot. That’s what we want, and we know it’s what our customers want. And that can only be accomplished through the magic of scheduling.