The cost of poor obsolescence management

When outsourcing component engineering tasks such as obsolescence management, it’s important you find a reliable provider, even if the costs are higher. While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest deal, you run the risk of breaks in the supply chain, late or non-existent PCN alerts, and substandard components sourced from the “grey” market.

Good obsolescence management (OM) is about looking ahead and being prepared for the worst that can happen – such as a component suddenly becoming unavailable. Cost reduction consultants point out that OM doesn’t save your business money; it merely stops your costs getting any higher.

Skimping on your obsolescence management services could cost you dearly in other ways: if you suddenly find yourself unable to replace a component it can delay shipments, hold up production and even lead to a total rethink of the system design.

The rate of component obsolescence is increasing year by year, driven by the changeover to mainly COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) components and environmental compliance diktats. In specialist areas like the aerospace industry, where components are traditionally in circulation for several years, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find reliable, genuine replacements for components such as obsolete semiconductors.

Many engineers working in defence and aerospace have got around the problem by stockpiling key components. However, they may not be able to do this much longer. There is talk of aerospace components being removed from the RoHS directive “exemption” list. If this happens, it will be a springboard to widespread component obsolescence. Remodelling of hardware designs and the adoption of new manufacturing processes are just two of the problems analysts foresee.

We at Enventure Technologies offer a range of obsolescence management services, from PCN alerts to alternate sourcing.

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