First of all, don’t be afraid of the word “custom” in front of LCD display. The idea of getting exactly what you need is very exciting, but your enthusiasm could be quickly deflated by all of the misconceptions of this process and not being able to meet your budget or schedule. At Phoenix Display International, we don’t want this to happen to you. In fact, our mission is to never let our customers go line-down. In other words, we want your display to be the one thing you don’t have to worry about.
To help you navigate lead-times and understand our processes - and how we aim to reach your timing goals - better, here’s a look behind the curtain.
To be clear, we may be a little different than others. We are a build to order company. Meaning that we only build a product when our customers’ order it. We do this because there are so many variations of each display possible, and the waste associated with high inventory and excess inventory add to the cost of every single display. So, we skip that. The down side is that we are not for everybody and we are unable to support the smaller projects. The upside is that we are building specifically for each customer, so each configuration is customizable and at the lowest possible true cost.
1. Typical Production Lead Times are 8-12 Weeks
Again, we may be a little different. We actually ship our products into the US via ocean instead of air. It takes more planning, but the result is roughly a 3% reduction in freight costs which are passed on to our customers. This change in ship methods add 4 weeks to our overall lead-time but can easily be expedited when needed by shipping traditional air at any time.
Mass production manufacturing lead times are typically 8 weeks. The long lead-time component is typically the LCD glass at 6 weeks with 2 weeks available to manufacture the components into the complete LCD module. So, 8 weeks manufacturing with 4 weeks shipping, gives the standard and most economical 12-week lead time. With a simple expedited shipping this can easily be sped up to 8 weeks.
So with shipping accounted for, we’ll usually estimate eight to 12 weeks for your production LCD displays in total. An eight-week time frame if we’ll be shipping your display via air, and more of a 12-week time frame if it’ll be going by ocean.
2. New Product Development Lead Time
For a new product there are two paths, standard or custom. Often for a standard product, meaning the configuration already exists in this exact format that you need, the lead-time is 0-2 weeks. Either there are samples available, or the components are available, and they just need to be manufactured into your sample.
For a custom display, the process is a bit longer. I’ve seen this done in as quick as 2 weeks, and on long side it can become dependent on the customer’s design iteration process and I’ve seen this take years. But the typical experience for a full custom display is 2 weeks for the design and iteration process, and 4-5 weeks for tooling and assembly, resulting in 6-7 weeks for the first samples.
3. But We Can Compress Our Lead Times if Needed
As all Phoenix Display products are customized to the needs of each customer, so can the delivery. There are options of accelerating the supply chain and manufacturing to shorten this schedule when possible, as well as carrying stock of some of the longer lead-time components to shorten this lead-time as well. All, done on a case by case basis.
As mentioned before, we aim to never let our customers go line-down, so we regularly do whatever we can to expedite our processes and meet your timeframe.
Here are a few of the ways we speed it all up:
- We stay focused on keeping mid-volume customers, so we have more agility and availability to work quickly on your behalf and give you more of our attention.
- We can accelerate the design and iterations processes. If you work with us to provide timely feedback, we’re happy to do our part to be quick with turnarounds.
- It’s very typical for us to keep components with long lead times on hand. As long as there won’t be a change in it from the design process, we can keep many standard connectors, ICs and other components in stock, which saves you a lot of time.
- Alternately, we can order components or full displays based on forecasts, which allows our customers to order releases and get them the next day. One example of this would be TFT glass panels, which sometimes have as much as a 26-week lead time. By keeping an inventory of these, we greatly expedite the whole manufacturing process.
- We have control over our manufacturing facilities and can set priorities as needed.
4. When Necessary We Can Get Very Creative
Occasionally, we need to work even more quickly for a customer. In these scenarios, we’ll sometimes go with an approach that’s a bit controversial. Let’s say a customer needs to test five parts in five weeks, but then two weeks later needs 200 parts. Since typical production lead times are eight weeks (for manufacturing), that just doesn’t work.
If it’s a project like this, and we’ve fully assessed the risks, we can go in and build all the necessary parts at once. Or, we’ll build it up to a point. But we have to be very careful with this approach. When we do this, we don’t have time to make a prototype, and skipping this is risky in and of itself. But if it’s a simple, low-cost display, it can be worth it to just go for the build. If it doesn’t work, we can scrap them and lose the $1K-$2K it cost to make them, but if it does work, we’ve shaved off a ton of time. It’s a gamble, for sure, but one we take when necessary.
Our ideal scenario, however, is to go the traditional route and have time to build a prototype, but that’s not always possible in this day and age.
So, there you have it. If you’re interested in a custom or standard LCD displays, we hope you’ll consider Phoenix Display International. We’ll turn around the highest quality product to you, and we’ll make sure we meet your timing and never leave you line down. Contact us to learn more!