The cable component supply chain is broken. Here’s some data.


Five years ago, you could acquire any cable component in two or three weeks. Those days are gone, and supply chain management has become a crucial element of successful custom cable manufacturing.

To characterize just how much the cable component supply chain is struggling, we dug into our proprietary supply chain management software, Parts Tracker, to grab some data.

This article delivers data on the average time to delivery for components that we ordered frequently in 2022. Then, we remark on how this data reflects our firsthand experience of the supply chain over the last few years.

Our methodology

We pulled data from our proprietary supply chain management tool to learn what average lead times were for some of our frequently ordered components. You can compare these times against a more typical expectation of 2 to 3 weeks, which in some cases might even feel like an outdated expectation.

We chose to examine five parts each from four different part categories: hookup wire, connectors, jacketed cable and fans. We excluded data for nylon sleeving for cable management or heat shrink tubing — in both of those cases, we’ve seen no supply chain disturbances whatsoever.

The data

Hookup wire

PartManufacturerAverage time to delivery in 2022
6716 BLAlpha9 weeks
CFPE-60-01Igus22 weeks
4160644Lapp20 weeks
6715 BLAlpha13 weeks
M16878/4-BJE-2Any manufacturer12 weeks


PartManufacturerAverage time to delivery in 2022
87568-2443Molex20 weeks
09 14 025 3101Harting8 weeks
DBPU 104 A051-139Fischer11 weeks
PHR-2JST34 weeks
D38999/23YB35PNAmphenol22 weeks

Jacketed Cable

PartManufacturerAverage time to delivery in 2022
1895LAlpha17 weeks
86004CYAlpha16 weeks
9941Belden11 weeks
86402CYAlpha21 weeks
9533Belden15 weeks


PartManufacturerAverage time to delivery in 2022
PFB0624GHE-TD88NMB61 weeks
OD6038-24HBVXCOrion36 weeks
9GV0412K301Sanyo Denki47 weeks
AFB0612VHC-R00Delta75 weeks
GF80321B1-000U-AE9Sunon42 weeks

How the data aligns with our experience

Obviously, some of the data above is pretty damning. But that’s not to say you couldn’t go from design to finished cable in less than ten weeks. In most cases, it comes down to the components you specify. Smart decisions in the cable design stage can navigate past supply chain bottlenecks without issue.

The biggest impact of the cracking supply chain has been an increase in the value of common components, especially generics. It’s more important than ever to specify generic components where you can, since the lead times you see elsewhere have ballooned so much.

At least 20 small yellow cable assemblies laid out on a table

Hookup wire

In the hookup wire category, for instance, basic wire in the generic category, like UL 1015, 1569 and 1061 hookup wire, haven’t seen any meaningful change in availability or lead time. But Teflon-coated, mil-spec and other specialty types of hookup wire have seen long lead times and inconsistent supply.

Recently, we’ve seen stocks trending way up, as it appears distributors are overbuying to combat the supply issues. We expect that availability of many part numbers will be jumpy over the next year.


After the pandemic, most connectors were in short supply. Even standard, rectangular-shaped connectors from major brands like Molex were scarce for a while. Supply of those more common connectors has started to recover recently, but many uncommon connectors remain scarce.

The problem has been especially persistent for circular connectors commonly used in military-grade applications.

Jacketed cable

The struggles of Alpha and Belden in particular (the two biggest names in jacketed multi-conductor cable) have caused a lot of headaches for cable manufacturers. The complete story of our experience over the last couple years isn’t quite told by the numbers here.

We’ve relied on strong relationships with some distributors — when they’ve had stock, we’ve been able to obtain it quickly. But when the distributors have been out of stock, lead times directly from the manufacturer have been up around 30 or 40 weeks.

Since jacketed cable finds its way into most of the custom cables we produce, this has caused a ton of pain. One of the ways we’ve solved the issue has been to identify alternate cable from smaller companies (Quabbin and Olympic Wire are two examples). We’ve found them capable of producing more palatable lead times from their factory.

DC cooling fans on a cart


Mercifully, not every custom cable we produce needs a fan. And if your own product doesn’t require one, you might be curious why they’d even end up in this article. But they offer a good example of how seemingly unrelated material shortages can derail unsuspecting supply chains.

DC cooling fans typically range from 1 inch square to 8 inches square, but the reason they’ve been so hard to get is a lot smaller.

Each fan has a small circuit board in it with a controller that drives the fan’s motor, and that controller contains a tiny, cheap microchip. Those chips have been scarce and have driven fan lead times to the moon.

And unlike most other components we source, the problem is getting worse.

What you can do

You’d be right to ask whether the component supply chain is something you can do much of anything about. If you’re an OEM working on a new cable design, it’s not your problem to fix.

But there’s plenty you can do to look out for your own cable assembly. The first step is checking on the availability of the parts you’re specifying. One way to do that is to look the part number up on or They’ll show current stocks with distributors as well as listed lead times.

For parts where enough data exists, Trusted Parts even plots stocks vs. price on a chart dating back one year. This can help give you an idea of what to expect moving forward.

Or talk to your cable assembly supplier. They can help you identify cable components that could cause problems and design around a supply chain that won’t be back at full strength for a while.

Looking for a custom cable partner with supply chain management chops?

OEMs have found out the hard way over the last few years that their suppliers don’t always practice strong supply chain management. But a custom cable partner that sees and solves supply chain problems ahead of time eliminates a ton of production risk and keeps you moving on schedule.

We’ve been that partner to OEMs since the 1990s. To talk to an expert about your application or our capabilities, just reach out. We love to talk shop and specs.