Russ Ward

Shorten Elevator Lead Time

Shorten Elevator Lead Time – One the best kept secrets in the elevator industry is the timeline from a contract being signed until the elevator is delivered and then passes inspection. I am no conspiracy theorist, but it seems that no one wants to talk about the subject in the least. See for yourself. Go ahead, I encourage you to search for a source on any platform that tells how long the timeline is for a commercial elevator installation. I’ll wait…

Polls And Anecdotes Are All We Have

So what are we to do if you want a general timeline for getting an elevator installed in new construction or even a retrofit application? It is kind of important to find out how long generally an elevator takes to install and get running, right? Now, I can tell you how long it takes for the MEM Elevator System, but as a rule in the elevator installing world that is a top secret. As a result, for that information we are stuck with general polling and anecdotal stories. The need for you to know that information is the lack of knowledge does not allow you to compare the facts of the install and puts you at a disadvantage when deciding on the elevator type and company.


Now up front there is not a poll completely on point. However, there are a couple that can give some guidance. There is no denying the timeline when actually applied to projects is a huge problem in light of these polls. One of the polls of construction industry professionals found that 100% of respondents said the elevator “always created major delays” to “usually creates some delays”. In this day, when people rarely agree on anything 100% is astounding. But get this, 0% or none said that the elevator never creates delays. So why do so many respondents think there are delays? Because the timeline for completion is not accurate from the outset or one has not been established or taken seriously by the elevator company.

This result was replicated in another question in the same poll that asked, “What are the biggest difficulties regarding the elevator?” A full 82% indicated that delays in start up were the biggest problem. Am I crazy or does the elevator industry have an issue? Maybe both?


The results could be waved away if it weren’t for so many stories we are hearing from elevator installers, project managers, and building owners. Often they contact us or request a Fast Track Number stating the reason they called was because the lead times from the major companies were so long. They felt they were given every excuse in the book but no solution to delays. They mentioned production delays to manpower shortages as to why the expected delivery date and installation was over a year out. And the timeline for some has even been stated to be in excess of two years.

In an industry that is so slow to respond (as seen in this short video) what are customers supposed to do? Where can the buyers of commercial elevators find the answers they need? Where can they get a reasonable timeline? First, a quick examination of why the delays.

Delays Are Built In The System

Hoistway sits for months delaying the project.
This hoistway took months to build due to weather delays. It just sat there for weeks on end. A modular elevator can be placed in hours.

Having a hoistway built first and then sit empty until there is permanent power is lunacy. But this is the general way elevators are installed. Months tick by while nothing is done in a fully finished hoistway. Then once permanent power is provided the elevator installation company arrives. They take over and get in the way of every other trade filling a predetermined area with parts, pieces, tools, and components.

The reason for the need of power is that the elevator has to be operational to install the rails and clips as they use the elevator as a work platform. If the area is not climate controlled and the weather gets too cold or hot, they simply stop work. Try getting an elevator installed in the northern US or Canada without delays if you don’t believe me. An old saying is that in some climates the elevator installer watches the thermometer closer than the timeclock.

Slow – Laborious – Unsafe

Meanwhile as every elevator component has to be carried into the enclosed hoistway and screwed, bolted or cobbled together work is slow, laborious and often unsafe. There is lots of heavy lifting and risk of dropping objects inside the shaft.

Only after all of the work is completed regarding elevator doors and entrances can other trades such as rock and tape crews, painters, flooring installers and exterior finish workers can return to finish the job. In most cases it means more delays usually unaccounted for.

Simply put it is a mess; a slow, plodding, inefficient mess. Beyond that, the completion time of the whole project hangs in the balance because the elevator is smackdab in the middle of the critical path. The elevator shouts, “None shall pass.” at the top of its lungs and the project grinds to a halt. All stops when one hoistway heaves with cold weather, one part is on back order, with one injury in a dark dangerous hoistway, one misplaced tool, one blown console, one little problem and the whole project grinds to an unforgiving halt.

How To Shorten Elevator Lead Time

A better or revolutionary process changes the entire game. We provide an elevator when you need it not tied to the old fashioned practices. In the chart below you can see how we are different.

The traditional elevator process is linear and mired in design and engineering of the hoistway, to gathering up all the parts and components. Our system is not. The MEM Elevator System is delivered hoistway and all, fully installed. It is placed in a couple hours and can be started up in as little as a week. We start with the day you need it and then count backwards in days to place it our production schedule to be be delivered on time every time.

The Secret of Modular timelines.

It is so fast in delivery and set in just a couple hours, that it is often used in lieu of a construction elevator on some projects saving even more time and costs. When modular units are built in factories, the time is simply shortened. But what is not incorporated in this chart are the ancillary savings and benefits.

Here are just a few:

  1. Quality – There is a higher rate of inspection. The work environment is better. Improved supervision and consistent templates and practices are in place. That makes the quality higher. Quality means fewer fixes, redo’s or punch list items. It saves time.
  2. Waste – Waste reduction is significant. With modular the order is made for each job. Supplies are purchased for that project and nothing else. Also, there are strict inventory controls. Buckets of fasteners are not spilled or misplaced. Nothing walks off the site after work hours and steel and components are ordered to length as much as possible. What is not used will get recycled not just thrown in a trash bin. That includes all the packaging and other trash.
  3. Labor is not wasted either. Repetition, automation; planned placement of tools, supplies and materials reduce time and costs. We include items in our scope to smooth and speed the entire project. Our elevators come with drywall on the interior and exterior of the shaft for instance. Also, the elevator doors and frames are already install. That means every opening saves you money and again saves time.
  4. Factory Environment – Weather is inconsequential. No one stands around waiting for things to warm up or cool down. A traditional elevator can’t even be installed in temps below 54 degrees. Not so with factory installation of components. Who cares if it is raining, snowing or worse? Everything is done inside until the delivery date. And after delivery our units are wrapped and can sit for months in all kinds of weather.
The modular timeline reduces the total time of the project.

Do You Want a Shortened Lead Time?

More and more builders and building owners are joining the revolution. They are exploring what modular has to offer and how the modular timeline can be a huge benefit.

Our MEM Elevator System is beneficial for the whole project and the results are stunning especially when taken of advantage of in full. Can you imagine how your project would change if you could determine when your fully installed elevator arrives? Then started up in less than a week? Or realizing it goes in so fast it often doubles as the construction elevator on the job? That is a game changer, especially in current times where every penny counts.

So now is the time to act if you have any questions about modular elevator or the MEM Elevator System. If you are the least bit curious about Modular Elevator Manufacturing just click the button below. You can get a LIVE VIRTUAL TOUR of our factory. We will pull back the curtain and let you look at our process and how we are leading the modular and elevator revolution.

Do you have a project in mind? To get thumbnail numbers to consider, just click the Fast Track Quote button below. We will be in touch in less than 24 hours. At that time we will give you an idea of how your project will be improved and your investment. You will also find out what it takes to make a change for the better.

Request a

Request a

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Newsletter Sign Up