4. Setting Up Lead Times
PLEASE HAVE EVERYONE ON YOUR TEAM WHO DEALS WITH INVENTORY STUDY THIS COURSE.
We also highly encourage you to book your one-on-one onboarding call WITH YOUR TEAM so everybody is trained. :) Schedule an on-boarding
What is a Lead Time?
The Lead Time is the time that it takes from the minute you place an order with the supplier for that purchase order or that inventory to travel and arrive at its final destination. Each vendor must have a default lead time, which means that every product assigned to that vendor will automatically have that lead time. But you can also set up backup lead times. For example, if you standard lead time is 80 days and it ends at the warehouse, but you have a back-up lead time for 40 days that goes straight to Amazon.
This video will help you to understand Lead Times and how to set them up and use them to track your Purchase Orders from the moment you place an order with your Supplier to the moment it arrives at Amazon.
Default vs. Forecasted Lead Times
When you assign a lead time to a supplier that is called the "Default" lead time, meaning that every product assigned to that supplier will automatically have that lead time as the default. But what if a portion of the products for that supplier have a different lead-time than the default? Default lead times can be OVERRIDDEN at the forecast level.
Building Lead Times (step-by-step)
In SoStocked, after you've set up your vendors and your inventory, the next thing to do is to set up your lead times. To do that, go to your Vendors page, and click on "Lead Times".
You're going to have a default lead time and that's going to be the only one that shows up. Now, we've edited it, but your default lead time will look something like this. Click on "Edit" and I will show you how these lead times work.
You can rename the default lead time here.
You can also create a brand new lead time by clicking the green + button up here, and select "LEAD TIME".
You can choose any portion of this and actually build out your workflow. A very simple lead time would be first "In Production" -- let's say you're sourcing from China and your production is 30 days. Then, it's going to be "Ocean Freight" for 25 days, "Ground Freight" for 10 days, and it will end at FBA. So that's a very traditional and standard lead time for most private label sellers.
There's also a lot of other different types of lead times you can build for every type of business model -- let's say you're not going to FBA but you're actually sending inventory to a warehouse (it's called 3rd Party Warehouse, but it could be your own private warehouse) and it takes a day for it to check-in at the warehouse that you've selected. You can also rename this lead time, so in this example, we'll call it "China to Fulfill It All Warehouse".
Nowadays, due to the pandemic and lower storage limits at Amazon, people have created some very interesting lead times. For example, you might have a lead time that actually produces the inventory in China, and then immediately goes into their own warehouse and it could actually be the same supplier that built the product. This is not very traditional, but it is kind of a backup lead time that some people are using.
Here's another example for those who are doing wholesale. Maybe you're ordering from your supplier then it goes on a truck then it goes through your prep center where you unpackage and repackage it for Amazon then it goes back on the truck and goes directly to FBA. However, you do have this 5-day hold at your prep center.
The other option that you have is to assign as a default to a vendor. So choose a vendor, and make that vendor use this as its default lead time.
If you were to make a purchase order from that vendor -- so here's ABC Supplier -- and you're purchasing a bunch of this inventory, it's going to choose your default lead time that you've assigned to that vendor and there's a hierarchy. So when you assign a lead time to a vendor, then every purchase order that you make is going to automatically use that lead time.
You can also click on the lead time to edit it.
You can edit the lead time on an order-by-order basis so you can actually choose from a drop-down list of different lead times that you've created. Click on "Confirm" once you're done editing.
Once you've created your custom lead times, you will have them all in here and it will show you how many vendors are assigned as defaults or if these are just backup lead times with no vendor assigned.
Now, you can go over to your order tracker and kind of track where the inventory is per purchase order or per work order based on those lead times. Try clicking into one of these P.Os.
You can actually see the lead time right here with an ETA of when it will arrive at its final destination.
If you wanted to edit that lead time, click on the "Edit Order" up here and adjust your lead time manually.
You can create as many lead times as you want -- there's no limit -- so you can create a lead time for every situation you foresee in your business.