Life Sciences Customer Frequently Asked Questions | Product Availability, Capacity Expansion, and More | Corning

Customer FAQ

Corning is determined to support scientists responding to the global pandemic, as well as those conducting other critical, life-changing, life-saving work during these extraordinary times. The below Q&A was developed to address specific customer questions and concerns.

  • Where is my product?

    If we have inventory available for your order or it is scheduled to be produced within a 90-day period, your order confirmation will indicate an estimated ship date.

    Estimated ship date updates as well as updates on longer lead times outside of the 90-day window will also be provided regularly to our channel partners (i.e., distributors), who manage communications with many of our end user customers. When an estimated ship date becomes available, the open order report we regularly send out to channel partners will reflect the new estimated ship date. If dealers/distributors do not get the open order report now and would like to get it, they can contact Corning Customer Service in their region.

    We’re currently shipping more product than ever before—but demand continues to grow. We are doing all we can to get as much product out the door and into customers’ hands as soon as possible, including investing heavily in new capacity and running our manufacturing operations 24/7 in several plants. 

  • When is incremental capacity coming online? When will additional product be available?

    In the first half of this year, we have made significant progress in expanding our production capacity for multiwell products, centrifuge and round bottom tubes, PCR products, automation tips, and more. We will continue to aggressively bring capacity online throughout the rest of the year. While it will take time for the increased manufacturing capacity to work its way through the life sciences supply chain and reach our customers, there are signs of positive progress. For example, we will soon be shipping additional inventory of certain high demand robotic tips, including Hamilton 1000 and Qiagen, to our distribution partners.

    See our Lead Time and Capacity Expansion page for average product lead times and an overview of current capacity expansion programs.

  • What are the current lead times on products?

    Product lead time is currently variable depending on the product family. See our Lead Time and Capacity Expansion page for average product lead times and an overview of current capacity expansion programs.

  • Who informs end users proactively? Corning or its channel partners?

    This is dependent on who you place your order with. If you place your order directly with Corning, you can call or email our Customer Service team for an update when the in-stock date is approaching. If you have placed your order through one of our channel partners, then they will be the party to communicate directly with you.

    Unfortunately, while we are working closely with our channel partners to improve the prioritization process to Corning customers, we currently don’t have visibility into their order status and cannot dictate the prioritization of shipments to their customers.

    If you require critical prioritization for product that you have ordered through one of Corning’s channel partners, please contact your Corning sales representative to help escalate.

    Refer to our Supply Chain infographic to learn how Corning and its channel partners work together to get products to the lab.

  • Why can’t you give me an accurate estimated ship date?

    Once we schedule production, we can give you a reasonably accurate estimated ship date on those products. Beyond that, the industry-wide supply chain, driven by high demand for COVID-related products, is too volatile to predict estimated ship dates with an appropriate degree of accuracy. Hence, instead of an estimated ship date, we are only able to provide estimated average lead times for orders that will be fulfilled beyond a 90-day window.

  • Are you selectively allocating products to chosen customers or regions?

    U.S. government rated orders take priority above all other orders. The Master Supply Agreements (MSAs) that we have with customers follow in prioritization. We do our best to service all other customers on a first-in-first-out basis, but in many instances, there is not enough product to service the many outstanding orders we have.

  • Are there any alternative products I can get sooner?

    There are alternate products in some product categories, but this is highly limited. Most alternatives have been exhausted as well and are now also on backorder.

  • Why am I being told you have a raw material delay? Did you not buy enough?

    Corning’s shortage of supply is mainly due to the unprecedented global demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is not specific to us; it is impacting many manufacturers and suppliers within the industry. We believe that there are currently shortages across the global life sciences supply chain, from critical raw materials and components to finished goods.

  • What is a Rated Order (DPA) and how does it affect what you promised me?

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. federal agencies have authorized certain companies under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to place priority rated orders. When a rated order is placed with Corning, we are legally obligated to accept it, fill it, and prioritize it over other orders if necessary to meet the delivery requirements.

    Refer to our Supply Chain infographic to learn how Corning and its channel partners work together to get products to the lab.

  • Why does it take weeks to get a direct shipment? Can I get overnight delivery?

    While we are currently shipping more product than ever before, we are facing slower shipment speeds due to several factors:

    • Our distribution centers’ direct shipment capabilities are at capacity
    • We do not have enough product to fulfill all open orders for a direct shipment
    • Our logistics and transportation vendors are experiencing increased volume

    At this time, overnight orders are not possible. We are doing everything that we can to get product out the door and to our customers as quickly as possible.

  • Why are the shipment tracking numbers for my order not immediately active in the carrier’s tracking system?

    Orders shipped Less Than Truckload (LTL) are processed through Corning’s freight forwarder, who is responsible for providing an added check of shipments prior to shipment from its hub. They are also responsible for identifying the carrier that will deliver the order to our customer. Tracking numbers do not become active until a carrier is identified and has picked up the order at the freight forwarder hub and scanned it into their network. The U.S. is currently dealing with a shortage of truck drivers, causing extended lead times in finding available carriers. This has led to customers experiencing longer than normal delays from the time their order is shipped from our distribution center and the tracking number becomes active. Corning’s global logistics organization is actively working with our freight forwarder to find alternate solutions to this shortage. Corning’s supply chain organization is also executing a plan to bring this processing capability back in-house at our North American distribution center to eliminate the step of shipping through a freight forwarder. This should improve data flow in tracking orders.

  • Can you bypass the dealer/distributor and just ship it direct to me? Isn’t that faster?

    Corning is prioritizing shipments to our channel partners and shipping multiple truck loads daily. This will continue to be the fastest route of getting product. If a direct shipment from Corning is required, a new “Drop Ship” order must be submitted from the channel partner to Corning.

    In general, drop ship and direct orders will not get to the customer faster. We do have an exception in place for urgent orders from customers that will be forced to shut down if they do not receive product, as well as customers with whom we have a Master Supply Agreement.