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Plantronics Inc (PLT) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

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PLT earnings call for the period ending December 26, 2020.

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Plantronics Inc (POLY 0.00%)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Feb 4, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Poly Q3 fiscal year 2021 conference call. [Operator Instructions]. I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Mike Iburg, Head of Investor Relations. Thank you. Please go ahead, sir.

Mike Iburg -- Head of Investor Relations

Welcome to Poly's Financial Results Conference Call for the third-quarter of fiscal year 2021. My name is Mike I Iburg, Head of Investor Relations. And joining me today are Dave Shull, President and CEO; and Chuck Boynton Executive, Vice President and CFO.

The information presented and discussed today include forward-looking statements, which are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The risks and uncertainties related to such statements are detailed in our most recent 10-Q, 10-K and today's press release and earnings presentation. You should also refer to the materials we provided today for an explanation of the non-GAAP financial measures discussed on this call, along with the reconciliation of those measures to the nearest applicable GAAP measures. These non-GAAP measures are indicators that management uses to provide additional meaningful comparisons between current results and previously reported results. And as a basis for planning and forecasting future periods, all of our earnings materials are posted on our Investor Relations website at investor.Poly.com.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Dave.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Mike. First, let's get right to the numbers. I'm happy to report another strong quarter for Poly. We saw non-GAAP revenues of $488 million and adjusted EBITDA of $100 million, driven by record headset and video cells. This represents a year-over-year growth of 25% and 133% respectively. We protected our gross margins which were 50.7% for the quarter, and we generated $31 million in operating cash flow. Finally, our order book continues to grow as customers recognize that the way work gets done has changed permanently. Backlog at the end of the December quarter increased again to a record level. Chuck will talk in more details about our financial results, but our performance will permit us to do two important things in parallel; invest in our products and people for the future, while at the same time improve our strategic flexibility by continuing to eliminate debt.

Let me step back and talk about the road ahead. In October, I made two key points on my first earnings call as Poly's CEO. First, I acknowledged that we are a company in turnaround mode. My first priority has been to fix operational issues. At Poly, we have to make sure the machinery of the company is working smoothly and efficiently for our customers, our partners and our shareholders. We've made rapid progress on this front, but we've also got a number of additional issues to tackle. I will talk about both results and ongoing areas of focus in a moment. Second, the working world has changed quite literally overnight. As I talk with customers, partners, analysts and investors, it is clear that there is an important debate under way about the nature and permanence of that change. In many businesses, there is a hopeful school of thought that the introduction of vaccines will usher and I quote, "return to normal," and that commercial office utilization build outs and related equipment orders, including Poly gear will revert to some kind of mean.

We do not believe there is a quote, "normal to return," to. Even a vaccine won't return us to baseline because normal was already disappearing thanks to step changes in data infrastructure capabilities. The ongoing digital transformation of enterprises and a corresponding increase in the volume and sophistication of communications. Especially, high-quality video and audio. COVID has been a critical catalyst to change working habits and a massive accelerant to the digital transformation already reshaping the working world. Zoom, Teams and Slack were not invented in response to the Coronavirus, they were already there. Before COVID, companies were already committed to 5G infrastructure to handle distributed video data. Digital collaboration, remote work and the infrastructure necessary to support it, were already spreading throughout the working world. The pandemic has just exponentially accelerated adoption and usage of these types of platforms.

Yes, certain verticals may have seen some demand expansion, specifically tied to the pandemic, like education. This quarter, some of the biggest school districts in the United States have selected Poly's gear so that teachers and students can seamlessly connect for virtual classes. But we believe other verticals like healthcare or professional services are experiencing a pandemic agnostic explosion and the adoption of next-generation communications tech. The data bear this out, research by Gartner shows, 74% of companies will permanently shift to hybrid or remote work. And by 2024, Gartner expects these remote workers will represent 30% of all employees worldwide; a total of approximately 600 million people. IDC analysis concluded that thanks to Coronavirus acting as an accelerant quote, "in just two to three months," healthcare organizations have seen the equivalent of two years of digital transformation. And Fortune estimates that in five years Telehealth will be a market worth over half a trillion dollars. In companies everywhere, from small professional partnerships to Google, are providing stipends to allow their remote employees to properly equip the remote work environments.

Personally, I am a remote video convert. I've gone from abhorrent remote working to fully embracing the work revolution. Video conferencing has become a way of life. A break in video and the cloud transition will define the post COVID return to the office. Analysts estimate that of the roughly 50 million conference rooms in the world, less than 10% are video enabled. They also estimate there are more than $400 million legacy phones in offices around the world that will be replaced with cloud-based audio devices and collaboration tools. The key challenge post COVID will be to facilitate hybrid meetings. Many professionals will return to the office. That's great for Poly because those offices will need professional grade gear plus services and support to manage communications, and that's what we do better than anyone. But we fully expect those same professionals will also need and want to be prepared at a moment's notice to work from home, or from anywhere else remotely, so long as they're connected and communicating. And that's also great for Poly because we're investing in that future as well. Seamlessly combining these teammates, who are both in and out of the office so they can do their work, whether that's in formal brainstorming or critical million dollar client facing conversations via hybrid meetings is a complex challenge and will be one of our biggest opportunities at Poly.

All wish to say, we think that the massive structural change, we've seen when it comes to work, where people work, and how people work is indelible. The post COVID opportunity for Poly is significant, but we need to focus and execute every day to ensure that we are in the strongest possible position to serve it. Our four, day to day, key areas of focus are; one, supply chain management; two, innovation across our product portfolio; three, solidifying distribution channels and partnerships; and four, ongoing cost discipline and balance sheet management. I'm generally pleased with the progress we've made on all fronts, as it relates to operational improvements at every level of our organization.

We've made a number of additions to ensure a strong leadership team is in place, including the recent appointment of Gloria Laredo as Chief Transformation Officer, Lisa Bodensteiner as EVP and Chief Legal Officer, and John Goodwin as SVP, Public Affairs. We've also brought on board a new Chief Supply Chain Officer, Grant Hoffman, who started last week. As pleased as we are about growing our order book, I'll be even happier when Grant gets all of those units shipped.

With regard to our product portfolio, we have announced an entirely new family a sophisticated prosumer video tools, our Studio P series, which are squarely aimed at professionals who need to work from anywhere using any platform and demand enterprise grade gear and importantly enterprise grade support. We are also working to make sure we can sell our gear to those same professionals, the way they want to buy them. If traditionally Poly sold to law firms, today we have to be ready to sell to lawyers. We are working to expand our e-tailing presence, while also continuing to strengthen our enterprise level distribution and support channels because they continue to be a competitive advantage for us as entire business verticals shift how they work.

For example, we have many healthcare customers move into telemedicine and they often need significant support, and Poly and our partners are providing it. In addition to healthcare, we continue to see strong demand from governments, both domestically and internationally. For example, core systems at all levels are deploying Poly video equipment to facilitate remote arraignment and other critical conversations among judges, attorneys, plaintiffs, and defendants.

Let me put a finer point on the strength of the government education and healthcare verticals. Our healthcare business is up 23% since the pandemic began. Government is up 46%. And education is up 86% with K312 growing almost 300%. We're excited that our products are finding their ways into the hands of customers with the greatest need for quality, ease of use and reliability.

Finally, we are going to keep managing costs, defending our margins and deploying cash to reduce debt. Being disciplined about this creates flexibility for us and ensures we have the resources we need to invest in our future. Chuck will speak to this in more detail. As I said at the beginning of the call, for anyone wondering about the future of work, it's here. For Poly, COVID ripped the band-aid off what we already knew. Work is work whether or not there is a workplace. In order to get the job done, people need to connect reliably and clearly. That couldn't be a better market scenario for us. Poly's value proposition is stronger than ever because our products are tools, not toys, and they enable great work from anywhere on any platform. We make and service gear for the enterprise, whether or not that enterprise is in a building or distributed in thousands of individual workplaces around the globe. Before I turn the call over to Chuck, I want to say that I'm proud we've come as far as we have, as quickly as we have as a company, especially under current circumstances. I am also aware of how much work there is to do but everyone at Poly has a clear picture of where we're headed and is excited about the potential before us.

Now, let me turn to Chuck.

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Dave. As Dave mentioned, there was a particularly strong quarter driven by remote work and video collaboration.

Non-GAAP revenue was $488 million, a 25% increase from the prior year, driven primarily by professional headsets and video, which were up 74% and 60% respectively. We also saw a rebound in voice, which although down 15% year-over-year, had been down more than 50% in the prior quarters. This quarter, voice actually grew 53% sequentially. However, this trend is not likely to continue in the short term until more companies return to the office. Service revenue remained relatively stable at $67 million with strong margins of 68.5%. As we commented recently, at the last several investor conferences, the demand environment for Poly products remains exceptionally strong. As a result, backlog grew sequentially in the December quarter. The composition of backlog continues to evolve as markets shift toward hybrid work. As a result, video now represents a third of our order book. Although backlog has increased, lead times and product availability continue to improve. We also managed to recover an increased channel inventory in certain key markets consistent with increased demand. Our next-gen video solutions continue to gain traction with sell-through increasing nearly 900% year-over-year. Due to supply constraints, we shipped approximately 40% of our video endpoint units in the last three weeks of fiscal Q3. This did impact sell-through in Q3, however, it bodes well for sell-through and market share growth in Q4.

Gross margins improved 130 basis points year-over-year, driven primarily by volume. However, air freight continues to impact the business. We expect the air freight rates to ease as we get deeper in the year, but as of today, they remain stubbornly high. And due to continued demand trends, we have not been able to put more products on the water. So, we expect the air freight impact to continue for a few more quarters. Operating expenses increased $257 million, primarily driven by variable comp due to higher revenue. Operating income of $90 million represents an increase of 187% year-over-year, driven by higher revenues and improved gross margins.

Turning to cash. Operating cash flow was $31 million. We ended the quarter with $245 million of cash and short-term investments and retired $12 million of debt. Given our current cash balance and expected fiscal Q4 cash flow, we expect to make a more substantial debt repayment. This quarter, potentially retiring more than $80 million depending on market conditions.

Turning to guidance. Similar to last quarter, our guidance is based on the current supply forecast for professional headsets, video and voice units from both our factory in Mexico and our contract manufacturers. The availability of that supply can change depending on many factors outside of our control, including the current pandemic. In addition, our fiscal Q4 is subject to normal enterprise seasonality, which is typically down 4% to 6%, and this quarter, we have a 14th week. With that understanding, we expect GAAP net revenues of $438 to $468 million. Non-GAAP net revenue of $440 to $470 million. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range of $70 to $80 million, and non-GAAP EPS is expected to be in the range of $0.80 to $1 per share. Our non-GAAP tax rate is expected to be 12% to 14% and shares outstanding should be approximately $43 million. As you've seen in the footnotes in our earnings materials, there are several discrete tax items that may be resolved this quarter, creating a favorable impact to our GAAP and non-GAAP tax rate. Since we don't know the timing or magnitude. The tax rate we are providing excludes this positive benefit.

Before I turn the call to the operator to take questions, I want to extend the point that Dave made earlier. We've been clear that we understand that there were set of near term operational and execution issues that needed attention and that those issues are being squarely addressed every day. At the same time, I want to make sure, it's clear that Poly as a business is also looking ahead. We've made key additions to our management team. We're rolling out innovative new products and we're improving our supply chain. We want to be certain that we're in the strongest position possible to capture the opportunities created by the fundamental shift in the way we, all of us work. For Poly, this secular tailwind is one we think will remain in place and expand our markets for a long time to come.

Now, I will turn the call over to the operator to begin Q&A. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Amit Daryanani with Evercore. Your line is open.

Amit Daryanani -- Evercore -- Senior Managing Director

Thanks for taking my question. So, I guess first of Chuck. Maybe just touch on the March quarter EBITDA margins. I think the implication, it's in the mid 16% range. So, maybe just, what is driving this 400 basis points or so drop on a sequential basis? Is that just all the sales deleverage or is there anything else you would call out for the March margins?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Certainly, Amit. Yeah, thank you for the question. The March quarter, there was a lot of, sort of one timers. One is the kind of FICA reset adds, several million dollars to the expense line. It also has 14 weeks given our -- it's a 53 week year for the company. And so, we have one extra week of expenses. Then on the revenue side, that week one was the Christmas, New Year's weeks. So, there's not a lot of additional revenue that sort of offsets that. And then, we mentioned some of the supply chain challenges there. There are a number of issues including freight and whatnot that impact on the margin side. But looking forward, beyond March, we expect those freight issues to be resolved. And clearly, as we move into next year, the FICA matches and those kind of things are capped. And so, well, we should return back to the historical margins.

Amit Daryanani -- Evercore -- Senior Managing Director

Got it. That's really helpful. Can I just follow-up. I think one of the struggles that everyone kind of has is just trying to understand how much of the growth that you are seeing right now, especially on the video and the headset side, how much of that is really just structural in nature versus just the initial fulfillment by enterprises to get their workers up and running. So, not just on this side, when we look at those two buckets, video and headset side, how do you think about those growth rates as you go forward in fiscal '21 and beyond on a structural basis?

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Amit, this is Dave. Let me take a crack at that and then Chuck can fill in whatever else he wants to. As I mentioned in the prepared remarks, I think some industries, it's one time, education is probably a prime case of that. From what we're seeing and talking to customers that we think government, healthcare manufacturing, it's a much sort of longer-term trend that's really accelerated pre fundamentally what was already under way. If I specifically look at headsets, we saw a decline in our contact center business and we saw an increase in the UC business and that's a pretty fundamental shift to work from home. We think that people initially did a pretty massive grab for consumer headsets or whatever they could find on the shelves. And so, we continue to see very, very strong demand, as people grow so they may want to upgrade to a more professional grade tool versus some of the consumer products that they had before. So, I think that's a long-term trend.

We don't see that changing. What's driving that on the headset side actually comes back to the phone business a little bit. The 400 million legacy lines that I referenced. I think a lot of those probably don't become desktop phones, I think a lot of those become soft phones with a headset device instead. And so, I think that's a pretty good long-term debt as that transition occurs in the office, which has already been happening in the home. On the video business, I mean, we're thrilled with the uptick. Chuck mentioned this a little bit in his prepared remarks, we're seeing almost a 900% uptick in our new video products. That's massive. I think if anything, we have seen a few months delay in the addition of video products into the offices. And it varies quite a bit by geography, but especially in the Americas, we're seeing people say, hey, July is the new January or October is the new January. And so, there has been a bit of a delay. But I think fundamentally no one is disputing the fact that these 50 million conference rooms need to be converted to video, and everyone expects a post COVID world to be primarily a video-based world, which was maybe 10% of that base prior. And so I think. I think the long-term trends vary between video and headsets, but both of them are being driven by the two macro factors that we mentioned.

Amit Daryanani -- Evercore -- Senior Managing Director

Perfect. Thanks a lot.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Amit.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Paul Coster with JP Morgan. Your line is open.

Paul Coster -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Thanks for taking my question. Perhaps you could just give us a little bit of color around what you're seeing in your partner ecosystem. Are there sort of surprises by region? Can you call out those where you're seeing accelerating growth and how well are you positioning your inventory for the partner kind of growth?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Well, I wish we had more inventory. That would certainly help us, Dave. EMEA is up almost 70%. So, tremendous kudos to them in terms of the performance there. That's been driven really across the board by headsets and video both. We're seeing a lot of demand in EMEA for government-related installations, but also education. So, we reference specifically major school systems here in the States, but we're seeing quite a bit of that in EMEA as well. With regard to the Americas, that's kind of where there has been sort of a wait and see on the video side. So, despite the massive uptick on video that I just mentioned, I think there's a lot more to go in the Americas. And then, Asia-Pac has returned back to the office more than some of the other areas. And so, we're seeing kind of a broader based rebound there, but not nearly at the same dollar volume as what we saw in the Americas and EMEA.

Paul Coster -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Okay. I was trying to actually get to what services are driving growth and are you aligning your inventory with those service partners, the Microsoft Teams and Zoom etc, and whether you can give us any color around what you're seeing out there at the moment?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I would say they're both tripling down. They vary in terms of how broad they are. So, I don't know if I want to characterize it any more than that. But I would say both of them, from sort of a global perspective, have jumped tremendously in terms of engagement. It obviously varies by territory in terms of who is selling into which verticals and we're trying to make sure that we match that as much as possible.

Paul Coster -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Okay, last question. Services is somewhat flat, is this sort of a long lead-time adjustments to the new reality? I just wonder if we're going to see that slowly tail off as these much easier to support products, frankly, deployed inside the enterprise and the enterprise comes to the end of prior generation contracts?

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, this is Dave. I'm going to give just a couple of high-level comments and then Chuck should add more detail because he's got more history than I do. So, we traditionally have had our services business be primarily an adjunct or an add-on to our on-prem business. A lot of it's been professional services installation for sort of the complex on-prem products. When we made a shift to the cloud-based solutions into some of the cheaper,lower ProGray but still kind of lower cost solutions, there was much less of a services attach rate. The Poly plus that we just announced is really our plan to sort of encapsulate that and simplify it. And so, that it's much easier to add to a headset or to a video bar in a manner that would be similar to more of an on-prem approach. Our view, our bet, which I think is a good bet is that as we come out of COVID, there is still going to be a pretty massive bring your own device but the CIOs are going to want to make sure that that is a managed device and that the services packages that go with that allow them to manage it, to manage the warranties, to manage the data throughput. And so, we think that the combination of Poly plus and Poly lens is sort of our bet on the future, but we got to simplify what was a fairly complex offering in the past.

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I'll just add, Paul, services are down 10% year-over-year. They're roughly flat with the prior quarter. We do expect services to continue to decline before they start to rebound with the services that Dave was mentioning. A couple of points, when we were initially selling the new video products, they are much easier to install and easier to use, and service attach was optional. You would opt in for service attach. Our Asia team did a phenomenal job of having that be sort of mandatory attach or opt out and that worked quite well. We've used that model now and rolled that out across Americas and EMEA where customers would opt out of service. That's a big strength. The big differentiation point for us over our competitors is the fact that we have a global services organization that can take calls and deal with issues as they arise. And so, we do expect over time with the services Dave was mentioning, plus just the core basic maintenance support that eventually will be able to turn our services business into a growth business. But over the next year, it's going to still continue to decline modestly.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

One of the other reorders that we did -- one of the other reorders that we did -- Paul, sorry to jump in. Tied into that a little bit, as we do combine our services business in the Poly software platform because we think there is a real driver here to make sure that we're looking at all the usage information, the bandwidth information, the lighting information and reporting back on that for our CIO clients. And so, that was a very recent combination. But I think that's how we kind of drive services. It has to be tied to AI and software insights long-term.

Paul Coster -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Makes sense. Thank you.

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Paul.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your next question comes from the line of Meta Marshall with Morgan Stanley. Your line is open.

Meta Marshall -- Morgan Stanley -- Executive Director

Great. Thanks. Dave, you spoke to kind of the progress that you're making on some of the improvements that you wanted to see and just getting a sense on, maybe, both demand and supply, but just a sense of where you think you are kind of on channel improvements and where changes could still be made? And then, just on production capacity, do you -- you noted you'd still like to have more inventory, but do you feel like you're at a run rate of production capacity or additional capacity still needs to be added? Thanks.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

This is Dave. Let me address the supply issues first and then I will hit demand, and then Chuck should add color again. So, from a supply point of view, we spent a fair amount of money building our capacity in Tijuana and with some of our ODM and contract manufacturers. I think we've done a decent job of building up throughput capacity. It's coming online later than I would like in the quarter. So, that's number one. Number two, we are seeing squeezes on the IC issues that have been a little bit endemic throughout the industry recently. And we're also seeing some issues with regard to things like camera glass, watches, which is a bit of a surprise to me. So, the net of all that is that we got to get a lot better about forecasting out a couple more quarters. We're putting in place the systems and the team I think to do that. We're making quite a few rapid changes to address that. But I think that's going to be sort of the net tie through here as we now have the throughput in our owned factory and then a lot of our manufacturers, but we got to make sure that we match that up with the components as they're needed.

On the demand side, we -- post merger, we had some issues with our headset business in the States, primarily, as part of the merger integration. We have taken some active steps to repair that, still not an A plus. We've got a ways to go there, but the team is all over it and is executing very quickly. And then, we also had a bit of a hiccup, which I think is well known at this point with regard to Skype and Teams. We have been all over the Microsoft and Zoom relationships and we'll continue to make that a strategic focus. I would say it's a BB plus but we have a ways to go and I want to make sure we triple down. I think there is a real opportunity to sell a much more strategic vertically oriented solution in combination with Zoom and with Teams and RingCentral and others. And I think there's a lot of enthusiasm around that. We need to go execute on it.

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I would just add, Meta, on the -- I think we've done a good job on the supply chain fixing the historical products. We have a whole suite of new products that we've launched. The Sync 20 is a really phenomenal new product, speakerphone product. Two days ago, we announced a new series of personal communication devices. And a year ago -- we are a little more -- we started launching new video products. The reality is we can't make enough of those new products fast enough. And so, we're actively working with our suppliers to increase capacity to meet the demand. That's going to take a while to get to the production levels of where our customers want. But we're thrilled with the progress and the team, Dave mentioned some of the constraints earlier, but I would just add that increasingly we're looking toward our new portfolio of products. And there, I think it's going to take us a little while for production to meet the demand.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'm excited about the potential for those new products through an e-commerce retailing channel. We do very little business through there versus our competition. We put a new team in place. They joined around the same time I did. We're executing on it. We've hired. But man, there's a lot of upside. But we've got to have the product and we've got to have the product ready to be sold with high quality marketing and focus our SEO in that channel. So, lots of ups and downs.

Meta Marshall -- Morgan Stanley -- Executive Director

Yes.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Mike Latimore with Northland Capital. Your line is open.

Mike Latimore -- Northland Capital -- Managing Direcotr, Equity Analyst

Great, thanks. Congratulations on an incredible quarter there. I guess on the government education, healthcare verticals. Can you just give us a little bracket around how much they're contributing to revenue at this point?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

We don't break out the specific verticals. It's not a majority. It's a fraction less than 25%. It's meaningful, but it's not a majority of our revenue.

Mike Latimore -- Northland Capital -- Managing Direcotr, Equity Analyst

Okay. So, all three combined are under 25%?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I'm estimating. We're not giving exact numbers, but I would approximate it's about 25%. Yes.

Mike Latimore -- Northland Capital -- Managing Direcotr, Equity Analyst

Got it. And then, what kind of tax rate should we think about for fiscal '22?

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We provided that in the prepared remarks. It's in the low teens. What's interesting is, in Q4 specifically, there is a couple of discrete items that could provide a meaningful benefit. That's not contemplated in the guidance. And I think as we look to the future, it should be in the mid to low teens in

'22 and beyond as we established our global tax structure this last year.

Mike Latimore -- Northland Capital -- Managing Direcotr, Equity Analyst

Got it. And then, you talked a little bit about the supply constraints, I guess, is there a way to -- how much revenue did you sort of miss, I guess, because of supply constraints? Or put on there, how much more revenue could you've had without supply constraints?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

So, we don't break that out separately. So, obviously, there's 2 K -- there is a perishable demand where someone needs a product today. And that was a very prevalent early in the pandemic where people got whatever headset they could possibly get. And the other sort of flavor are the long-term customer relationships that are willing to wait for the right equipment or right gear. Our backlog is representative of demand that our customers want that we can't yet fulfill immediately. So, I don't think we're losing a significant amount of perishable demand in the short term. There's some, but I wouldn't say that we're losing a lot of demand. It's a lot of it is being shifted and deferred. And we did catch up quite a bit in Q3, but we still have a lot of work to do to catch up in Q4 and beyond.

Mike Latimore -- Northland Capital -- Managing Direcotr, Equity Analyst

Okay, thanks.

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Mike.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Liz Pate with Cowen & Company. Your line is open.

Liz Pate -- Cowen & Company -- VP, Senior Research Associate

Hi, thanks for taking my question. Chuck, in terms of component lead times, where would you say they are right now?

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Well, some lead times could be 9 or 12 months. There are some products that many of us are competing for the same ICs as an example. We have a great supply chain. We've made a lot of improvements. There is more to go for sure. And we've been working with our suppliers to place orders well in advance. The challenge has been that demand has been much stronger than we had anticipated and it's been increasing over the last year. And so, when we think that we have the supply issue solved, demand yet is even stronger than we'd anticipated. But I think as we sit here today, we, some of the components that we just -- we can't get them and it will take several quarters. Other ones we're addressing in the lead times are in the normal kind of 7 to 8 to 9 weeks.

Great, thanks. And just on gross margins, it ticked up a bit this quarter even despite the freight costs, how should we think about gross margins over the next few quarters? Well, I think, I would expect that we should be in the low 50s as a run rate. It could be mid 50s, when the pandemic is behind us. A lot of it does depend on product mix. As we look into this quarter or next quarter, product mix is driving a big portion of this, plus the other items that we mentioned like freight. But I would say long term in our business model, we would expect low 50s to mid 50s. In the next few quarters, it could be high '40s, low 50s. A lot of it just depends on product mix. And of course, in Q4, we mentioned some of the one-timers that are hitting in our March quarter. But I think overall, the new products that we're producing have strong margins, and we feel really good about defending our margins as Dave mentioned earlier. Great, thank you.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks Liz.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time, I will turn the call back over to Mr. Shull.

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to join us. I really look forward to it and look forward to talking to you all again soon. One of these days, hopefully, it's in your office, or from home, or anywhere in between as the pandemic continues. Really appreciate it.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 38 minutes

Call participants:

Mike Iburg -- Head of Investor Relations

Dave Shull -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Chuck Boynton -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Amit Daryanani -- Evercore -- Senior Managing Director

Paul Coster -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Meta Marshall -- Morgan Stanley -- Executive Director

Mike Latimore -- Northland Capital -- Managing Direcotr, Equity Analyst

Liz Pate -- Cowen & Company -- VP, Senior Research Associate

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Stocks Mentioned

Plantronics, Inc. Stock Quote
Plantronics, Inc.
POLY
$39.54 (0.00%) $0.00

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/27/2022.

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