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SSL sales and broader deployment
2013-01-08
Regardless of industry, almost any business owner will seek a way to reduce lead times and increase sales. Unfortunately, the LED lighting industry is known for its long lead times, which are almost always caused by supply chain issues. This latency directly affects the closing of the sale, and that’s extremely detrimental in any industry, let alone one as new and ever-evolving as the solid-state lighting (SSL) industry. But there are steps that you can take to minimize supply-chain issues.


Because the LED lamp and luminaire industry is such a land grab, it is crucial to find ways to overcome challenges innate to being a first mover. The main issue that causes longer lead times starts with the supply chain, which directly affects whether a lead will result in a sale.
On average, lead times are approximately six weeks, but it would be preferable – and better for business – to begin a project in less than three weeks. This is particularly important because LED retrofit projects are often impulse purchases where the buyer expects samples and beta tests to begin immediately.


While buyers’ enthusiasm is great for business, it can also have a negative impact on the bottom line if the purchasing process isn’t quick and efficient. The LED industry is saturated with lighting product providers, and buyers can easily move to a provider who can obtain and install the new lighting fixtures faster.
To shorten lead times and in turn win more business, there are three key issues that you must find a way to address in order to own your piece of the pie: product fulfillment, sourcing suppliers and service standards.


Product fulfillment
Many LED lighting manufacturers use various component suppliers such as Cree, Philips, Lumileds, Seoul Semiconductor, Epistar, Osram and others to supply pieces of the final LED fixture. These suppliers offer broad component families for LED products, but there are often problems with orders being completed correctly. For example, most projects ultimately combine specially engineered components that meet buyers’ performance goals and the lighting maker must match the requirements to the component or subsystem supplier offerings.