Manufacturer Solves Lead Time Crisis

In September of 2020, a west-coast manufacturer of vinyl windows needed to find custom weatherstripping quickly in order to avoid a disastrous production shutdown. Their supply was rapidly shrinking as vendor lead times across the industry extended into unprecedented schedules. Their supplier had begun quoting them 12 weeks for new parts. The window manufacturer’s stock would last them 7 weeks.

In the vinyl window industry, taking on a new supplier is a significant time commitment. Both the seal and the window manufacturers need to first agree on a design and then test the new design with product samples – all before the first production order is run. The entire process can easily take months. So, when they reached out to Reed Rubber Products for help, the window manufacturer immediately communicated the hard reality of their situation: they were out of time. They needed parts now.

The manufacturer and Reed immediately got to work with a series of design reviews, starting with the part that was at most risk of running out of stock. Reed’s engineering support team worked their way through the product line, even incorporating design improvements that sped up installation into the window systems. Within two weeks, Reed had new tooling and samples for testing. Two weeks after that, the window manufacturer received a full production order. Their production never had to shut down and they continued partnering with Reed with their more manageable lead times.