After reviewing the latest semiconductor lead time insights and analytics, LevaData has derived some unique perspectives from customers’ operational and market data.

While supply constraints, such as seasonality or new COVID-19 labor shortages, are undoubtedly still present, the impact of these factors varies. They’re worse at various nodes in the supply chain and affecting specific components within a group more than others.

However, after experiencing a dramatic 2-3x increase in average semiconductor lead times over the last eight to 12 months, it appears that the situation may be shifting again. The delays are shortening or, in some cases, beginning to flatten at the least.

The graph above, which includes up to the first week of September, plots lead times of a basket of commodity components used in almost every electronic device. MCUs, MPUs, and Diodes were some of the initial categories to start the sharp increase in lead times.

Now for the first time, we’ve seen a several-month streak of lead times either flattening or declining – especially in those categories that initially led the lead time increases.  

  • Is this a real plateau or trend inflection?  
  • Could these categories that faced the most significant initial lead time increases indicate that things are beginning to moderate and trend back toward normal?

Most component manufacturer’s facilities are near or at 100% capacity and many companies have been purchasing excess quantities of components to stockpile supply going into the busy holiday season. Are the markets over-stockpiling, and are these changes in lead time momentum signaling the beginning of supply constraints' path returning to normalcy? Or, is it that manufacturers have simply adjusted their forecasts down closer to constrained supply?  

The graph above, which includes up to the first week of September, aggregates that basket of commodities as a single line to show the change in overall lead time momentum.

Many companies’ cash flow was greatly affected by having to tie up more cash than usual to establish sufficient component supplies for enabling continuity of product supply to their customers. However, this change in momentum might be pointing toward brighter days for companies, where “extreme” excess inventory is no longer needed. The change in lead time momentum indicates that the semiconductor market is beginning to shift back toward more balance between supply and demand. However, unforeseen volatility factors, like COVID-19 shutdowns, will continue to impact that trend over the next three to six months.

Maintaining a Competitive Advantage

As we’ve previously mentioned, there are two key requirements you need to satisfy to stay ahead of the game and protect your supply chain. The first is accessing and utilizing reliable, up-to-date analytics on lead time averages and insights. The second is investing in a reputable, always-on risk navigation platform. LevaData’s Supply Risk Navigator software does just that, offering companies the visibility and recommendations needed to safeguard their supply chains and maintain agility. Connect with us today to learn more about our revolutionary, AI-driven platform and what we can do to help you manage these risks and more.