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How to Get an Automated Conveyor System with Short Lead Times

Posted by Craig Newberry | Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quick conveyor lead times are often a driving factor behind an application engineer’s choice in conveyor system manufacturer. If you’re sick and tired of dealing with seemingly endless lead times, frustratingly long revision processes, and the challenges of a manufacturer who doesn’t put your needs – and those of your client – first, then look no further than Glide-Line. Here’s how you can shorten those lead times.

Steps You Can Take to Control Lead Times


1. Choose from multiple standard options, instead of a few.

Applications engineers and their clients experience up to 50% time savings by designing using conveyors built to be flexible as the standard, compared to limited standards from other manufacturers. And that time savings is even greater when compared to fabricating a completely custom solution from the ground up.

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2. Reduce extra engineering time.

Parts of the engineering process can be out of your control when working with a traditional conveyor systems manufacturer. From the beginning of the design process, you’re engineering and assembling conveyor pieces into your conveyor design software. Typically, you’re required to reach out to the manufacturing salesperson for quotes, model numbers, or conveyor expertise. Reduce the need to reach out by pre-planning as many of your design elements as possible prior to beginning work with the manufacturer. This way, it’s easy to see if they’re able to meet your requirements right off the bat, and you’re able to control the engineering time needed to make changes or updates during the process.


3. Find a manufacturer willing to solve unique problems with innovative ideas. 

innovative ideaFrom using a lift and rotate conveyor in a VTU, to creating a natural bypass by utilizing an open center pallet elevator, to lift and locates with open access for operations to the bottom of your product, it’s clear conveyor technology has come a long way, giving applications engineers greater opportunity to creatively solve automation problems.

Common Delays in Lead Time

Experienced applications engineers know lead times can be unpredictable at best, and incredibly long at worst. Waiting weeks for modifications to a design in order to get a quote sets the process off, and then fulfillment, shipment, and assembly of the conveyors can take months. Customizations lengthen lead times even more. No client has that kind of time to waste on long lead times for conveyors.

If the conveyor manufacturer’s processes aren’t focused on shortening lead times, then the experience we’ve just mentioned is normal. But it doesn’t have to be the case. Keep reading for red flags to watch out for to avoid delays in automated conveyor system lead times.


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Watch Out for These Red Flags in Conveyor Manufacturers

As you’re researching and asking questions of your potential conveyor manufacturing partners, there are red flags to keep in mind that could indicate longer lead times.


Long response times to inquiries.

long response timeThis red flag can be indicative of long lead times because it shows a lack of urgency on the part of the conveyor manufacturer. If they’re not respecting your time when you ask for a price quote, engineering update, or proposal change, chances are the lead time will also be slow.


Past lead time averages are long.

On average, Glide-Line’s conveyor lead times are half as long as competitors’ lead times. Ask the conveyor manufacturer you’re working with what the lead time will be for your conveyor fulfillment and delivery prior to making a decision. And, be sure to ask them about their fastest available lead time. Are they willing to work with you to rush an order, if needed? Glide-Line has expedited its processes on occasions when integrators were in desperate need of a solution; we’ve sent a product out the door in two weeks – from initial call to ship date – because the integrator needed a solution for their client. That’s how far we’re willing to go to for our customers.


Go-to-market strategies that are not customer-focused.

Long lead times, confusing pricing, and slow design processes are just some of the ways a pallet conveyor manufacturer’s go-to-market strategies can be focused on things other than you, the actual customer. Work with a conveyor systems manufacturer that puts customers first at every phase.

As an example, Glide-Line learned that applications engineers and designers were spending a lot of extra time waiting for updated pricing, product numbers, and downloads from traditional configurators. To help them save time, we designed our own SOLIDWORKS-based in-context configurator software, IMPACT!, that updates pricing and model numbers instantly. It’s just one way that our commitment to customer satisfaction shows in our go-to-market strategy.  This can be used in Excel only for pricing, or to automatically drive models that change as your application changes.  


This blog post dives into additional questions to ask any conveyor manufacturer before starting a project to ensure lead times meet your needs.

It’s important for you and the manufacturer you select to be on the same page when it comes to your lead time needs. As an example, we’ve made it our mission to focus on your needs first and foremost. With our modular design and simple construction, conveyors and systems can be built and shipped in lead times typically half that of our competition. We meet our clients’ tightest deadlines and guarantee the fastest lead times in the industry. Does your current conveyor manufacturer do that?


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Topics: Reduce Conveyor Lead Time

Written by Craig Newberry

Craig Newberry is a Business Unit Manager for Glide-Line. His past involvement in a variety of competitive sports along with current passion for obstacle course races spills over into his desire to drive business forward. Concurring challenges is what motivates him on daily basis, while his family is what fuels his desire to succeed in life. Although a bit of an adrenaline junky, he also tries to live by a brilliant statement made by Ferris Bueller “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you may miss it.”

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Glide-Line offers the most versatile multi-strand panel and pallet-handling solution available for the assembly automation industry.

We solve problems that other conveyor systems manufacturers won’t. We developed Glide-Line from the ground up with a few key, driving factors in mind. First, our conveyors had to be robust and reliable. Second, they would be simple – easy to maintain and service. Finally, we insisted on flexible configurability, creating an efficient, hassle-free customer experience. We’ve built the most versatile multi-strand panel and pallet-handling solution available for the assembly automation industry.

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