Lead Times on Body Armor

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Article by Tim Metzinger CEO of MacGregor Tactical 1/4/2021

It’s essential to realize why body armor lead times even exist. In order to keep costs down, most if not all body armor companies do not keep a large surplus of steel or composite body armor plates in stock. This permits body armor to be sold at a more affordable price. A similar consideration is body armor shelf life, steel is warranted for up to 20 years, soft armor and composites are generally warranted for less due in part to the nature of the materials with which they are composed. The coatings on steel plates is typically warranted for about years,
lead time is an average of the number of days between an order being placed and an order being shipped. Current material supply and known factors effect demand levels. “known factors” are very erratic especially as catastrophic news is rarely predictable.
In light of recent events taking place across the country, body armor lead times have been pushed appreciably higher than normal to say the least I’m sure by now we’ve all been asking ourselves the same question…what the heck is up with the armor industry production lead times? Because we are living in an “Amazon Prime” world, it seems somewhat astonishing that steel, composite and even in some cases soft armor lead times can be weeks or even months! So, when you place an order for body armor after a major event takes place, unavoidably you are going to see a longer lead time.
So why does it take so long to ship certain body armor products? Well, there are several reasons; when it comes to lead times, demand is the most decisive and fickle factor by far, It’s a very similar story akin to gun sales and ammunition sales (or lack of ammo as we’ve seen in 2020.Body armor sales spike every time an “event”, such as the recent Covid~19 ”Pandemic”, occurs regardless of whether or not it is a manufactured crisis or not.it mostly boils down to current demand and the production process. When we calculate our body armor lead times, we also must factor average fulfillment timeframes across many products. it mostly boils down to current demand and the production process.
So then, why then do manufactures continue to push sales and specials you may ask yourself? The convergence of recent events began tremendous sales increase in August of over 400% over the previous year; thus, the trend has continued throughout September-December with sales increasing another 200% from the previous year. Delayed shipments from vendors who occasionally sent the wrong materials, caused an even further a delay in production times of some soft goods as well. Those have been addressed and we’re nearly through that backlog.
While at first glance, it may look better to stop running sales and specials so that the industry can catch up on production. However, looking a little deeper, these sales and specials benefit everyone. Increased sales volume allows prices to remain relatively low through the principle of economy of scale. With orders on the books, so to speak, armor companies can buy materials in greater quantities ! This in turn aides in keeping prices reasonably priced for everyone, continually increasing sales volume also allows armor manufactures to work toward lowering lead times through capitalizing not only in production and but QC as well.

https://www.221btactical.com/pages/a-closer-look-at-body-armor-lead-times – 16 Oct 20

https://www.ar500armor.com/lead-times 11 Dec 20

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