Obsolescence Management is becoming quite a big issue for both the people involved with the delivery side of electronic and mechanical engineering and the customers of their products. We thought we would look at the production side of obsolescence management and steps that you, as a manufacturer, can take to make sure than you can properly foresee, control and manage the inevitability of components and procedures becoming obsolete.
The most obvious part of obsolescence management to most people is that eventually, the state of the art components you used in your products are going to be replaced by different ones that perform differently and it may well come to the point where you may not be able to get the old components at all any more. If your company makes a number of products then it may be sensible to discontinue the older products and to design replacements that are better, faster, stronger and cheaper than the previous ones. In this way, to a small degree, you can get more sales by selling upgraded products to your old customers; however, care must be taken not to be doing this as a money making ploy or customers will lose faith.
However, a more subtle form of obsolescence is in working practices. As newer environmental compliance laws keep coming in, working practices are changing and more and more needs to be done to keep green. The law may well dictate that you cannot use older components any more so you may well be forced to upgrade designs and products to keep in line with this.