Obsolescence management cannot be an afterthought
“Obsolescence has always existed. However, it usually only becomes really critical for companies when the exception mutates into the norm. And in recent years we have unfortunately experienced this unwanted development not only with semiconductor chips, but increasingly with many other components, materials and raw materials,” says IIOM President and COGD Chairman Dr Wolfgang Heinbach.
If you want more safety and sustainability in your supply chains, obsolescence management simply cannot be ignored. The constant need innovate is leading to a quicker discontinuation of components – which also means that a plan of action needs to be in place.
“The increasing pressure to innovate and cut costs, the shifting of market shares, the shortage of raw materials, geopolitical upheavals, environmental catastrophes, etc. are leading to materials, components and assemblies needed for production and maintenance being discontinued earlier and earlier and, as a result, long-term security of supply is declining in many industrial sectors,” Dr. Heinbach continues.
An action plan is needed
Turn a blind eye to the issue – and trouble will soon find you. Obsolescence management is in no way a new occurrence or topic – it is however something that is ever-evolving and requires continues updates in order to match the changes in the supply chain.
Plan ahead. It’s a simple two worded sentence that is worth repeating. Plan ahead – the risk of obsolescence should be considered as early as possible, already at the design stage. As a bumpersticker slogan the call would read something like “Obsolescence management should be pro-active; even more so in times like these.”
In the industry interest group COGD (Component Obsolescence Group Germany) eV, consists of like-minded people who deal with the topic of obsolescence management. The aim is to minimize or prevent the consequences of the non-availability of components. This is becoming all the more important as obsolescence management can have a significant impact on the value chain.
For some time now, manufacturers and users have been struggling with the fact that components, systems or materials that are urgently needed – weather that be for production or maintenance – are 'retired' after ever shorter life cycles or are no longer available for other reasons. The Covid19 pandemic – but also other events – have now massively exacerbated the existing problems in the supply chain. The effects that persistent obsolescence has on manufacturing companies in general are diverse: starting with a significant loss of flexibility in procurement, higher storage costs, more redesigns and serious sales losses when supply bottlenecks persist.
In times of fragile supply chains the question is how the strategic, proactive part of obsolescence management can help to improve the resilience of the supply chain against obsolescence risks.
For the Evertiq Expo Berlin, Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Heinbach will host a presentation on the topic, which introduces the principles of obsolescence management. The focus is on proactive OM, the assessment of future obsolescence risks and the measures for a better supply chain, more resilience against obsolescence.