|Letter from the CEO – Legacy Sustainment is Innovative
Unfortunately board obsolescence, due to component EOL, is a very real part of technology advancement, and a dark side of innovation. Beyond the obvious risks of obsolescence, waiting to deal with obsolescence hurts everyone’s bottom line.
In a climate of shifting priorities where resources are stretched thin and everyone is accountable for guiding new products into market, it makes sense why no one talks about end-of-life and long-term product availability…until it#8217;s too late.
When we talk about the prospect of never again sending out another EOL notice with embedded OEMs, we’re often met with disbelief. This, of course, is understandable considering that everyone has a long history of dealing with component obsolescence in this way.
In our many years of sustaining legacy technology, GDCA has seen that effective legacy management requires focus, planning, and innovation. In our 25 years we have had the opportunity to collaborate with many of the embedded industry’s best companies, and we’ve seen the results of not keeping in mind common legacy supply chain challenges.
Manufacturers who haven’t been planning proactively find themselves without the ability or tools to effectively respond. Instead of having a strategy in place, resources are redirected to dealing with emergencies and tracking ongoing product changes.
Every day companies are faced with difficult decisions of which product lines to cut and which ones to sustain. Effective legacy management solutions, like GDCA’s PLM+ approach, take into account that the end of a product’s lifecycle isn’t when the components and parts become obsolete; rather it is when there is no longer any customer demand. This shift is where reactivity stops, and legacy innovation begins.
Innovation is a new way to recognize and meet customer demand, while satisfying need for designing a “right fit” solution. For legacy, it is the forward thinking vision that recognizes the inherent unpredictability of many products’ lifecycles, and the reality that no one wants to be left without support.
Ethan Plotkin, CEO
Having the Right Tools for Legacy
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening my axe.” Abraham Lincoln
Measure twice, cut once — like with any new design project, you want to make sure all the parts fit together before taking action and moving ahead. Otherwise you may need to go back and re-cut or redesign. While this is not a huge issue when you can just go to the hardware store and buy more materials, the same cannot be said when you are sustaining a legacy system and have obsolescence events occurring on several boards, across multiple programs.
Faced with the reality of supporting a legacy product past its originally planned lifecycle, program managers need to take the time to step back, understand and evaluate the impact of the product’s use, environmental conditions, and evolving supply chain legislation for manufacturing and sustainment.
Legacy Management is more than just pre-stocking components, lifetime buys, or bridge buys because you need spares now. It requires a new look at traditional assumptions around obsolescence management.
PLM+ takes a look at the total, end-to-end lifecycle and provides a balanced assessment weighing the program’s needs and historic use and the key players in your supply chain. With this information a PLM+ “Fit Assessment” has three main components:
- Assessment – Understanding legacy needs, along with ongoing service level requirements.
- Implementation – Analyzing ALL the options available for taking a product to its natural end-of-life…when it is no longer needed.
- Execution – Building and repairing authentic products for as long as they are required.
Being proactive starts with making a decision to take a “sharpen your axe” approach, instead of just trying to hack away at obsolescence.
In the News
FAA Repair Station: One of GDCA’s core values is Continuous Improvement. This means we are committed to constantly challenge what we know in order to develop innovative new approaches and methodologies to legacy sustainment. With this in mind, we want to give a shout-out to our Operations team for getting us signed-off on our new FAA workstation and we look forward to supporting new products.
Welcome, Corinne: We couldn’t do what we do as effectively without the business partnerships we have forged across the supply chain. To support our expanding partnership network, we have brought on board Corinne Weber as our Director of Strategic Partnerships. Corinne has an instinctive ability to build multifaceted relationships, connecting diverse people to collaborate on a common goal. Her professional experience includes business development and project management for innovative engineering and high-end design firms. We are already enjoying working with her and know she is going to be a great addition to the GDCA community.
Stamping out Counterfeits: One of our 2012 goals was to get more deeply involved with the great work being done in the supply chain around counterfeit avoidance. We were recognized on our “Counterfeit Avoidance Program” (CAP) at SMTA/CALCE’s “Counterfeit West” and we are pleased to say that CAP satisfied our recent audit with the DCMA QA Specialist. In 2013 we’re committed to advancing
the conversation of counterfeit avoidance through cross-industry collaboration and answering the question “What is proactive and forward thinking when it comes to counterfeit avoidance in legacy systems?” In support of this goal Ethan, Rudy and Kaye enjoyed some quality dialogue with other thought leaders during the recent ERAI conference in Orlando, Florida.