Component obsolescence is an incredibly frustrating hurdle to face as an electronics manufacturer. However, it doesn’t have to be a crisis if you have contingency plans in place. We outline some of the ways you can deal with component obsolescence and prevent any stoppages in the production process.
Why does component obsolescence happen?
An electronic component becomes obsolete when it is no longer available from the original manufacturer to the original specification. It can cause major headaches because electronics are often designed to require that specific component.
The rate of component obsolescence keeps pace with the pace of technological advancement. Key components can quickly become obsolete – they are announced as being at the ‘end-of-life’ (EOL), meaning they will no longer be produced to that specification.
Obsolescence management must become a key part of supply chain management for manufacturers, to ensure they are not caught out by a sudden EOL announcement.
Strategies for managing component obsolescence
Although it is irritating, component obsolescence does not necessarily have to be a threat to your company. We outline some strategies for dealing with it below:
Stay ahead of the curve
Part of managing obsolescence is always being prepared for announcements to happen and keeping your ear to the ground in terms of timelines and viable alternatives for if this does happen. It can be hard to be proactive instead of reactive on a day-to-day basis but this approach will greatly benefit you.
Understanding the causes of obsolescence can be a good place to start because this will help you to understand and even forecast when it could happen.
Keep a flexible approach
Similarly, it is very important to always be flexible when it comes to sourcing components. You may have your preferred suppliers and ways of doing things, but an end-of-life announcement can throw all of that out the window.
Plus, when you are assessing obsolescence risks, your strategy here also needs to be flexible and account for the fact that all of the products will have different requirements.
Use forecasting to anticipate demand
Of course, it can be very hard to predict component obsolescence, but being prepared in advance by using demand forecasting can help you deal with it. Having the information of where demand for a particular product is likely to be at certain times can be extremely useful. This means that a company can have the right volume in stock in advance but also plan for any potential obsolescence and the volumes required to deal with that.
Find a reliable distributor
One of the best ways to deal with component obsolescence is to find an experienced and proactive distributor to help you in these difficult periods. They will be able to source those hard-to-find components or, if they cannot find them or they are no longer supported, they will most likely be able to find a viable replacement that will work for your product.
Here at Rebound Electronics, for example, we are able to source components globally and find exactly what you need, when you need it. This keeps your supply chain moving and helps to stop production bottlenecks.
For more information about the services we offer, you are welcome to get in touch with us.