November 2020 - The best ways to manage component obsolescence
Published on: 30/11/2020
Manage component obsolescence strategically and plan it in to your design phase
The life-cycles of electronic components are shortening with the demand and specifications of semiconductors constantly changing, the lives of products within this market and becoming increasingly shorter.
Long term product availability is vital in industries that require a rigorous roll out process including testing, standards and certifications, these red tape industries require a reliable source of components and the technical expertise to support them with obsolescence.
Buyers and procurement specialists need to be able to manage component obsolescence strategically, otherwise they could be faced with:
- Production delays or line stops
- A large financial commitment tied up in last-time buys
- Long term storage costs
- Forced product redesign
- A premature product end of life
GD Rectifiers works with customers to explore their component obsolescence options and details the best ways to manage component obsolescence in future:
Design phase considerations
Poor component selection can lead to premature product end of life resulting in a redesign and requalification. This can be a prevalent deciding factor for customers with long development and qualification cycles, and the lowest cost may not always be the most favourable. Buyers and procurement specialists should seek clarification from the suppliers on OCM commitments to long term availability before designing the components in to the build.
Understanding the total cost of obsolescence
It’s important to understand the cost and risks associated with obsolescence from the start. Component obsolescence shouldn’t just be a problem to be addressed as an after-thought it should form part of the initial decision-making process. The project plans should highlight any anticipated product redesigns and the costs associated with this.
Plan for obsolescence
Preventative planning for obsolescence can help manage expectations, costs, component engineering and purchasing management.
Buyers and procurement specialists should monitor component life-cycles with the help of distributors in order to anticipate problems before they occur.
Work closely with your authorised distributors to receive PDNs (product discontinuation notices) so that you can forward plan how this will affect your product and the options available to you.
Last time buys
LTB orders are inevitable but a supplier with an end of life transition partner offers risk-free on-going stock and production if demand rises, redesigns are delayed or in-service commitments are extended. Liaise with your distributor on LTBs and develop a plan to fulfil the supply until the product redesign is scheduled.
Purchase from authorised channels
There is a misconception that once the original component manufacturer (OCM) stops making a component, that the only option is to source the product from the grey market or unauthorised channels. However, the zero-risk option of using an authorised distributor should always be the buyers only logical choice.
It’s also important t remember that original component manufacturers do not provide guarantees for products purchased through unauthorised channels.
GD Rectifiers is proud to partner with some of the world’s leading original component manufacturers, receiving products exclusively from the manufacturers. GD Rectifiers is one of the world’s most trusted independent distributors of semiconductor components, circuit protection devices and electromagnetic components. With over 150,000 components in stock, we provide an extensive range of specialist power electronics, offering an impressive breadth of products, value-added services and contract manufacturing solutions.
GD Rectifiers has represented many of the circuit protection and semiconductor industry’s leading manufacturers for more than 50 years, today these include: IXYS, Westcode, Littelfuse, Semikron, Dynex, Mersen and Bussmann.
In addition, GD Rectifiers has a dedicated manufacturing facility for the design and development of heat sinks and hardware, power assemblies and controllers, regulators, inverter modules, selenium rectifiers and suppressors.