Addressing Electronic Component Lead Time Trends

Addressing Electronic Component Lead Time Trends

By Jeff Schnabel

When it comes to electronic design, time is of the essence for most OEMs and engineers, which means that sourcing electronic components and receiving those components in a timely manner is of critical importance to all stages of the design cycle. As these design cycles continue to shorten for engineers, electronic component lead times are often at the forefront of the selection process. However, as has been seen and known for quite some time, lead times in the electronics industry are mostly trending in the wrong direction due to a variety of factors. This blog will aim to look at those factors in relation to the current landscape of the electronics industry, while highlighting several CUI Devices’ product lines that address lead time challenges.

What to Make of Longer Electronic Component Lead Times?

This lead time guide helps to paint an up-to-date picture of the challenges OEMs are facing in a multitude of product sectors from connectors and electromechanical devices to passive and power components. In more than a few cases, certain electronic components have even seen lead times rise to 52 weeks or more. This obviously has a tremendous impact both up and down the supply chain as all parties scramble to fill in the gaps. Overall, there are several key factors at the heart of these lead time issues:

  • Supply and demand: In the most basic terms, demand is simply outpacing the supply of electronic components needed for various designs. This has been caused by many new and emerging markets, such as automotive technology, smartphones, and other smart home devices to name a few. These smart devices and automotive applications require a multitude of electronic components, which have stretched manufacturers beyond their limits.
  • COVID-19: Prior to the global pandemic, many electronic component manufacturers were already reaching capacity with lead times trending upward. The spread of COVID-19 in early 2020 only exasperated those issues with full-scale plant shutdowns, worker shortages, and widespread transportation delays both by air and by sea. COVID has not gone away and continues to have an impact around the world.
  • Manufacturing limitations: There is no more prime example of manufacturing limitations than the MLCC shortage. With hundreds or even thousands of MLCCs required to produce a single device, the manufacturing technology required to make these components simply cannot keep up with the demand. These similar limitations have also been found in the semiconductor chip market, among others. Plastic shortages or even the shortage of basic nuts and bolts have far-reaching impacts across the industry.
  • Inaccurate forecasting: Industry forecasts are not an exact science and, in the case of the electronic components market the last couple years, actual demand has far exceeded the expected demand. Although much of the supply chain has worked to improve efficiencies and lower operating costs over the years, in many cases there has not been enough excess inventory to keep up with the sudden skyrocket in demand. While it should work to correct itself over time, it has left many manufacturers playing catch up with increased lead times as the result.

CUI Devices’ Lead Time Advantages

To address lead time challenges head on, CUI Devices has been working closely with our manufacturing teams and supply chain partners to provide electronic component solutions with industry-best lead times. As a result, CUI Devices offers several key product lines with lead time advantages compared to industry averages.

Dc Fans and Blowers

Applicable to models with a C, CF, BG, or BF suffix, CUI Devices’ select dc fans and blowers feature frame sizes from 35 mm to 172 mm and airflows from 1.17 to 382 CFM. With lead times in the fans market rising to an average of 20 to 40 weeks, CUI Devices’ select fan models offer industry-best manufacturing lead times as low as 8 weeks. View More

DIP Switches

Available in piano, rotary, or slide actuator types, CUI Devices’ DIP switches offer 1 to 16 positions as well as a range of mounting and termination options. Several models also carry IP67 ratings for dealing with harsh environments. Lead times for this product line are as low as 7 weeks with much of the switches market averaging anywhere from 20 to 32 weeks. View More

Terminal Blocks

CUI Devices' terminal block connectors feature up to 24 pole counts, multiple color options, and horizontal, vertical, 45°, and 180° orientations in pluggable, screwless, or screw type configurations. These terminal blocks boast manufacturing lead times as low as 8 weeks with industry average lead times in this space trending toward 26 to 40 weeks. View More

Tactile Switches

Housed in compact packages as small as 6.1 x 3.7 mm, CUI Devices’ line of tactile switches offers actuator heights from 2.5 up to 17 mm and operating forces from 100 up to 260 gf. As mentioned earlier, the switches market is averaging 20-week lead times and beyond, while CUI Devices’ range of tactile switches currently offers lead times as low as 6 weeks. View More

MEMS Microphones

Applicable to analog and digital PDM output models, CUI Devices’ MEMS microphones feature compact, low-profile packages with omnidirectional directivity and sensitivity tolerances as low as ±1 dB. CUI Devices’ select MEMS microphones carry lead times as low as 8 weeks whereas the industry average currently sits at an average of 20 weeks or more. View More


Lengthy lead times and component shortages are certainly having an impact on OEMs and design engineers. While there is hope that manufacturing supply will eventually catch back up to demand, many predict continued struggles well into 2022 and beyond. CUI Devices has worked to lessen those impacts with a range of electromechanical product solutions boasting significant industry lead time advantages.

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Jeff Schnabel

Jeff Schnabel


With over 15 years of experience in the electronics industry, Jeff Schnabel has a wealth of knowledge on the products, technologies, and standards of interest to design engineers. He has been instrumental in establishing CUI Devices as a thought leader in the industry by developing the company’s extensive library of engineering resources and tools, expanding CUI Devices’ global brand, and positioning the company for future growth. In his free time, Jeff enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with his kids, while moonlighting as an amateur competitive eater.