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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.