1st mayo 2024

Empowering Education: reducing Lead-time to stay as industry leaders

At TecQuipment, we are proud to be industry leaders in the engineering education market as suppliers of high-quality practical teaching equipment. We also strive to enhance our services and products to better serve our customers.

A critical factor in customer satisfaction is being able to provide products in a timely manner. This is essential for educators and institutions relying on our engineering teaching equipment. Like many other businesses, we faced challenges during the pandemic, which led to extended lead-times for some of our products. We found this unacceptable and strived to improve our lead-time process to bring them back to industry-leading standards. We are proud to now say on average our lead-times are 8 weeks across the whole product catalogue.

Lead times2 1 Lead times2 1

Why was reducing lead-times important for us?

A lead-time is how long a customer waits to receive the products they order. Due to the variety of products and sometimes complex nature of these products we offer, this lead-time varies based on the product, for example the Engineering Science range products are all available from stock, meaning a lead times of just a few days. Our larger or infrequently purchased products like our electrical power systems products have longer lead times due to bespoke parts requiring manufacturing. These can take a few months for the parts to be manufactured and for the product to be completed, tested, and delivered to customers.

But offering bespoke products shouldn’t mean that customers must wait longer than shelf ready products. We want to provide our customers with the best practical teaching engineering products available and provide them in a timely manner so that their students can reap the benefits of hands-on learning faster.

We faced many challenges during recent years, which led to extended lead-times, factors such as supply chain disruptions, supplier bankruptcies, internal workflow issues, vacancies, and component obsolescence contributed to delays in fulfilling orders.

Reducing lead-times was crucial for us, we remained committed to meeting customers' expectations of TecQuipment and ensuring the timely delivery of high-quality products. We understand that waiting for products can be frustrating, especially in educational settings where timing is crucial.

So, by focusing on methods to improve lead-times we went from having lead-times on some products of 26 weeks to 8 weeks on a majority of our popular product ranges.

How did we do this?

To tackle the various challenges affecting lead-times, we implemented several strategic initiatives:

  1. Supply Chain Optimisation: We addressed supply chain issues, such as reliable suppliers turning unreliable, parts provided at substandard quality levels, unworkable supplier lead-times and less suppliers in the market, by improving internal workflows, producing more parts in-house, strengthening relationships with reliable suppliers, and on boarding new partners who meet our quality standards.
  1. Process Improvements: We introduced transparent data dashboards and visual factory methodologies to streamline operations and optimise production processes. This included, proactive engineering support to mitigate component obsolescence issues, and planning adjustments to change the factories dynamics, removing capacity outputs based on new capabilities. Part of this planning focused on the fact, we have a lot of historic compiled data in the system from manufacturing over the years and are now utilising this information, for example, implementing an algorithm to drive minimum order quantities which meaningfully reduces setup time on machines. We’re also currently investigating wireless communication hardware for machinery so we can plan and monitor more accurately, a further step towards industry 4.0.
  1. Talent Recognition and Development: To reduce supply chain issues and maintain quality standards we recognised the importance of skilled personnel, we introduced a committed production manager who is focused on staff welfare and factory working capacities and a knowledgeable procurement management, familiar with our products and suppliers. Whilst there are also ongoing UK recruitment issues beyond TecQuipment’s control, to mitigate this in the long term we are increasing our apprenticeship intake to give more willing young engineers the chance to thrive in a high demand industry and contribute to increasing manufacturing capacities.

What impact does this have on staff and customers?

The impact of reducing lead-times extends beyond the achieved operational efficiency. It boosts staff morale, fosters a happier and more focused workforce, and strengthens customer relationships. For customers when we were not capable of providing short lead-times, with set budgets and time frames that had to be met, even if we were the supplier of choice, those customers had to take their business to other providers who could provide equipment within a short lead-time. Now we can supply our known quality assured teaching equipment within industry standard lead-times on a majority of our products. By meeting delivery deadlines consistently, we build trust with our customers and ensure they receive the products they need when they need them.


As we continue to refine our processes and enhance our capabilities, our commitment to delivering high-quality products remains unwavering. We understand the importance of maintaining our quality standards while striving for efficiency and timeliness. Our promise to you is simple: high-quality engineering teaching equipment delivered to your facilities within a reasonable a timely manner of purchase.