Secrets to Getting Better Lead Times

Pressure Vessels

The Current Landscape of Lead Times

Lead times have taken a turn for the worse ever since COVID and they’ve been made worse by the ongoing skilled labor shortage. There is a myriad of companies restructuring their supply chains and being forced to think about aspects of their supply chains in ways they previously did not. After all, if you can’t deliver your product, you can’t record revenue. Rock solid, reliable supply chains have become more important than ever and lead times are a key part of it. At Red River we are intimately aware of lead time challenges and the wild swings in pricing that have occurred in the last couple years. We’ve spent a lot of time cultivating relationships with our vendors and we’ve managed to continue offering excellent lead times.

Practical Strategies to Improve Lead Times

Here are a few highlights you can do to improve the lead times. These tips are in the context of pressure vessels but they can apply to other items as well:

Know Your Technical Requirements

Clearly defining your requirements and understanding the performance metrics of your pressure vessel are important so that you can quickly analyze whether an alternate component can still meet your requirements. Sometimes vendors will propose alternative components when the one required by specification is hard to get or the price is high. If you can quickly approve or reject these options it keeps things moving.

Utilize Readily Available Materials

Designing your vessels around readily available materials can have a dramatic impact on lead times. For example maybe you can adjust the length of your pressure vessel design in order to maintain a diameter that utilizes a common head size. Maintaining contact with your pressure vessel manufacturer can help you stay current on the ebbs and flows of material markets.

Work with Someone Who Cares

This sounds simplistic but it can make all the difference. People who care will tie the extra knot and make that extra phone call that can change the trajectory of your delivery dates. People who care will admit their mistakes and bring solutions. The fact is you typically don’t have any way to gauge how hard your vendors are working in your behalf because you’re not sitting in their office. So the early indicator is whether they care, obviously the results will eventually tell the story but many times its too late at that point. We trust people who care. Trust builds relationships. Relationships build success.

Don’t Go Cheap

Its a known fact that employees who are paid well do a better job than ones who aren’t. Vendors are no different. If you work with someone who cares, typically they won’t be the cheapest. But they will go the extra mile to make sure your project stays on track. If you save 10% going strictly with low price but your project is delivered late and you have lost revenue then you gained nothing.

Emphasize Defined Processes and Proven Results

Work with someone who has a clearly defined process that with proven results. Find out how organized your pressure vessel manufacturer is and how well defined their process is. Can they tell you at which stage each project is and where the quality hold points are? Visit their facility and audit their quality control manual to get a clear picture of how well they perform. Ask for key performance metrics that illustrate performance.

Foster Strong Vendor Relationships

Work with companies who take care of their vendors: The vessel fabricator you’re working with may have the best of intentions but they also are reliant on a supply chain just like you are. If they treat their vendors terribly then chances are your product may not be top priority. The “Don’t go cheap” tip applies here as well. Companies who form strong relationships with their vendors are able to harness the power of a team and can produce results others can’t. They are able to influence lead times in ways that others can’t.

Make Deals on Inventory

Developing a strategy to work with your pressure vessel fabricator to have them inventory some of your top running vessel sizes can give you a significant advantage. There’s also another benefit to having your product continuously in your vendors facility. Its almost like having a representative from your company there, it ensures that you as a customer remain on their minds there are benefits that come with that.

Treat Them Like a Client

Vendors often claim that they treat all their clients the same or they claim that they treat YOU better than anyone else. But we all know that most decisions are rooted in emotions no matter how hard we try to make them clinical and unbiased. If you do things to like offer better pay terms to make yourself the better client to work with, human nature ensures that you get more attention.

Everyone wants their vendors to be intuitive, solve problems and delivery flawlessly. We strive for this every day at Red River.


In the realm of industrial solutions, Red River emerges as a pioneer, offering a diverse range of custom-engineered products and facilities. Among our specialties is the design and production of Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels, meticulously crafted to meet individual client requirements, ensuring performance under various pressure conditions. Our expertise extends to the domain of prefabrication, where Red River leads with distinction.

The company excels in creating prefabricated facilities, modules, and packages, reinforcing its stance as a forerunner in innovation and quality. This proficiency is further mirrored in their Modular Skids offering, where they provide an array of Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment. Each piece is tailored to client specifications, underlining their commitment to delivering precision and excellence in every project they undertake.

Pressure Vessel line art

Pressure Vessels

Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels designed to fit your needs.

Prefabrication line art


Red River is a leader in prefabricated facilities, modules and packages.

Modular skid line art

Modular Skids

Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment manufactured to your specifications.


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