Categories
Electronic Components

Managing component obsolescence

Electronic component obsolescence can have a ripple effect in the industry. If a component reaches the end of its lifecycle it can impact any products made with the component, affecting the end user.

Obsolescence happening faster

Components now are becoming obsolete much faster than 50 years ago. In the 70s the complete lifecycle of an electronic component was around 30 years. By the 2010s this was closer to 10 years, a huge decrease.

While this might not be a problem for consumers, it does have a considerable impact on manufacturers. If machinery is specialised to a certain type of component, the cost to adjust or replace these machines can be high.

Especially in very specialised fields like aerospace, defence and medical, faster component obsolescence has a serious effect. The process of redesigning these circuits and testing can be hugely time-consuming.

Advancements in technology play a part in these accelerated lifecycles, but there is still a big need for legacy parts.

End-of-life

Component manufacturers usually let their customer base know if a part is becoming obsolete with a Last Time Buy notice or a Product Change Notification (PCN). These can be issued up to about a year in advance to give companies time to make alternative arrangements.

Some companies will decide to stockpile these components once they receive the notification. The alternative is reworking any products featuring the components or finding alternative components.

Of course, any of these options will be costly. A number of companies will be trying to stock the same components so the price will increase. This will increase further once the components become scarce.

Can it be managed?

·         Monitor end-of-life notifications: Even if a PCN does not directly affect you, it may affect other manufacturers in your supply chain. Keeping track of these and being aware of what others in your supply chain use might make all the difference.

·         Consider buying strategies: Depending on how and when you buy components, you may end up with shortages or obsolete excess components. If manufacturers put a supply and buying strategy in place, they can not only minimise the obsolescence impact, but can save time and warehouse space.

·         Component lifecycle management: Staying on top of the component lifecycles can be endlessly useful. If manufacturers can keep track of their components lifecycle changes, they can forecast and prepare for the potential phasing out of the part.

Excellent management

Cyclops Electronics provides a range of services for its customers, including scheduled ordering. If you lack warehouse space but want to buy a surplus of components, whether they’re facing obsolescence or you want to secure a price, Cyclops Electronics can hold these for you and deliver as and when you need them. To learn more or hear about our other services, contact us today on +44 (0) 1904 415 415, or email us at sales@cyclops-electronics.com.

Categories
Component Shortage Electronic Components

Equivalents keep the supply chain moving in uncertain markets

Equivalents, who?

In uncertain markets, the demand for specific, branded components tends to outstrip supply. We have seen this recently with the semiconductor shortage, where specific chips are hard to come by at a time when they are needed. Equivalent components, also known as equivalents in the industry, provide an immediate solution. These ‘generic’ parts can be specified when specific parts can’t be sourced. With means that in cases where parts no longer need to be from one brand.

Successive cycles of electronic component shortages (especially in the semiconductor sector) have led to manufacturers specifying equivalents on their order sheets. Outside of sectors that have precise specifications for safety, like aerospace and biotechnology, these equivalents are helping to keep supply chains moving.

Equivalent in quality and specification

One of the common misconceptions about equivalent components is that they are somehow castoffs or second-best components. This is untrue. They are simply equivalent components from a different brand/maker/OEM.

The term ‘equivalent’ is used to describe components that can be used as substitutes for specific components. They meet the size, power, specification and design standards set by design teams. They are ‘like-for-like’ on the spec sheet.

The quality aspect of equivalents is only a concern when the electronic component distributor cannot verify the provenance of the components. At Cyclops, we only source genuine, verifiable components. We would rather expand our supplier base than source a batch of equivalents that we cannot be sure of.

A pragmatic approach to managing supply

Companies that are fixated on using specific components run the risk of running into roadblocks. There is a global shortage for chip passives and discrete semiconductors and this problem is expected to last through 2021.

Specifying equivalents is a pragmatic approach to managing supply chains in uncertain markets for several reasons. For the customer, generic specification reduces supply chain risk. It allows the customer to meet demand requirements without the risk of backorders, supply constraints, or being outbid by other companies.

The biggest benefit is flexibility. Rather than be tied to what is in stock and what you can source from an OEM, you can specify a value and chip size for passives, or a generic diode designation, and let your distributor source equivalents.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of meeting the demand for scarce electronic components. Equivalents will need to form part of your supply chain. Otherwise you run the risk of disruption and higher procurement costs.

How we can help you

Cyclops specialises in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts for a wide variety of industries from the world’s leading manufacturers.

We can source equivalent components for you from our global network. All we need is a value and chip size for passives or a generic diode designation for actives. We will work with your spec sheets and source high-quality, equivalent components.

If you are currently experiencing an electronic component shortage, we can help. Email us if you have any questions or call us on 01904 415 415 for a chat with our team.