Building and construction businesses, which includes builders merchants, stone suppliers and timber merchants, saw a 40.78% reduction in lead times over the two years between 2019/20 and 2021/22.

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, UK building and construction businesses were one of the top industries to slash their lead times compared to pre-pandemic levels, dropping by 40.78% 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.

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.

Commenting on the findings, 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 building and construction, 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.”

To create the Product Lead Time Index and learn how different sub sector’s lead times were affected by and since the Covid-19 pandemic, Unleashed analysed data gathered from its own inventory management software users. 

The average delivery order time in days for 25 different industries for the last three years were analysed to work out an average day rate for each figure.

-> Product Lead Time Index