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In supply chain management, the amount of time between a supplier receiving an order and its delivery to the distributor or customer. This is important for both custom-made products and mass production, and suppliers are expected to know the lead times for their different products. It is particularly important for just-in-time supply chains, in which each step in the supply chain is expected to know precise lead time. It is also called turnaround time.
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lead timethe time between placing an order or reorder and the goods being received into stores. STOCK CONTROL systems take the lead time into account when deciding upon reorder levels, placing orders whilst there is sufficient safety stock or BUFFER STOCK to meet production requirements during the lead time. Lead time to manufacture is the time calculated to manufacture a component or final product.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson