Pointers for effective part obsolescence management

Obsolescence management is all about keeping system designs up-to-date and relevant. An integral area of product lifecycle management (PLM), it ensures an unbroken supply chain, high profit margins and happy clients.

As technology becomes ever more advanced, so products go out of circulation that much quicker. Part obsolescence management (OM as it relates to individual products and components) is an essential area of engineering today. You only have to look at the obsolete semiconductor lists to realize that.

Component manufacturers make a lot of money by placing a finite lifespan on semiconductors, often far shorter than that experienced in use. Without effective obsolescence management tools, engineers can be left high and dry when, eventually, components do wear out – it’s not uncommon for replacements to be incompatible with the originals.

The way to avoid this is by ensuring your enterprise data management plan incorporates reliable lines of communication between you, your OEMs and your customers, so product change notification (PCN) alerts are announced, before they’re imminent, to every member of the supply chain – including the end user. Don’t forget, obsolescence is not controlled by market forces alone. Environmental compliance laws, for example EU RoHS and REACH regulations, come into it as well. Even if a component is currently exempt, an update to the law could change that.

The rules are simple: an effective master data management plan which links engineering BOM (bill of materials) and environmental compliance data to a central database, with regular data cleansing to ensure records are kept uncluttered and up-to-date. We at Enventure Technologies offer an extensive range of enterprise data management solutions, from BOM scrubbing to MRO maintenance.

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