Managing components at risk of going EOL requires proactive planning. If this vital step is not implemented, critical systems run into increased risk of exposure to counterfeits. Two topics that program managers never want to hear about are counterfeit components, and end-of-life (EOL). While it is possible to come across counterfeit components on active products, this risk can generally be mitigated by implementing smart buying practices, such as purchasing from a franchised distribution line or directly from the original component manufacturer (OCM). Unfortunately, as components go EOL, yet are still needed in critical systems, they become difficult to find and increasingly more expensive. These facts combined with often careless buying practices, leave the embedded supply chain exposed to counterfeit components. These risks only increase as systems age.
In general, defense sustainment and counterfeit avoidance has been left to DMSMS teams and logistics or engineering tactics. However, so far the solution has primarily been to develop standards, authentication and anti-counterfeit technologies. These responses have been critical, but have largely remained reactive and have not produced the dynamic collaboration crucial to maintaining a healthy, proactive supply chain. Instead, each player is left facing inward — focusing on solutions from their own particular positions in the supply chain — but without the resources to truly be proactive.
After our evacuation from New Orleans, we wrote about the part that collaboration played in our experiences. While we focused on how the collaboration mostly focused on safely addressing an incoming hurricane; generally when we talk about collaboration here at GDCA, we’re talking about collaboration in the sense of an integrated supply chain poised to protect the embedded industry from unplanned obsolescence.
That is why we’re taking a moment to celebrate and announce that DMSMS 2012 is back in the saddle for November 26-29, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.
We know that in the face of obsolescence no one can afford to be isolated in the supply chain. That is why we are pleased to announce that in partnership with Curtiss-Write, IHS, and Rochester Electronics we will be presenting on the realities of cross-industry sustainment: Building an Integrated Supply Chain to Support Warfighter Systems.
Proactive obsolescence management can often be an adventure. I like to think of it as a cross-industry supply chain game of chess. On one side, you have legacy experts like GDCA, with a quarter of a century of experience sustaining legacy systems. On the other side you have counterfeit risk, disruptive technology and time.
This year, we had an additional player when it comes to long-term support adventures: Hurricane Isaac.
“DMSMS” is a defense industry term and you can’t talk about embedded obsolescence management without eventually coming across it. For anyone not familiar with it, it stands for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages. These shortages can happen due to ongoing disruptive technology (going from NAND to DRAM), environmental disaster (such a flooding in Thailand or the nuclear emergencies in Japan), and plain old EOL. And, because you can’t always predict how obsolescence and end-of-life is going to impact a supply chain, you can imagine that the DMSMS conference is something we at GDCA look forward to every year.
Ask anyone who drives an older car. As the system ages, it develops its own quirks. You have to jiggle the shifter in park to get the keys out of the ignition. You have to pump the gas twice before it starts up on a cold day. The AC has to be turned off when going up a steep hill on days over 96 degrees. A particular brand of brakes work better when driving in California, as opposed to Montana. You know that you can get away with just 2/3rds of the thread on the bolts, but only for 6 weeks.
In short, you know that system inside and out: all the bugs, the features, and quirks that impact operation and repair.
Unless your mechanic is into vintage cars, though, he’s not going to relish working on an older vehicle. A younger mechanic may tell you the car is “old” and you’re better off just getting a new one – just when the old one was about to become a “classic.”
They both get harder to maintain as they get older, and if you don’t plan for obsolescence, they can both fail.
It’s common sense. As things get older, they become more expensive to maintain. For example, an antique car was state-of-the art when it first came out. It performed beautifully, and the parts were easy to find. If it had any real problems, it could be taken into the dealer for repairs. However, now that the car is a classic, it requires a lot more upkeep. In the past, it only needed to be taken in for oil changes and tune ups. Now it needs a new transmission, replacement brakes, a new timing belt and a new radiator… and as time passes, the mechanic can’t even get the parts he needs to fix it.
As the components become harder to find, the odds that your car can even feasibly be repaired get more remote. At first, you might scour junkyards and advertise online, looking for those crucial pieces of equipment, but eventually you will probably end up having to find someone who can reverse engineer or custom build the needed parts for you. And now a part that may have been $300 new is going to cost you hundreds more — if not thousands.
When people think of “legacy”, they often think of what is being passed along or left to the future. We believe a business’ legacy is the lasting mark they make on the industry, impacting future generations of innovators. That is why I look forward to the keynote addresses at NI Week. Each day demonstrates the […]
Defense Maintenance & Sustainment Summit
February 27-29, 2012, | La Jolla, California
It was my first time attending WBR’s Defense Maintenance & Sustainment Summit, and it was fascinating to hear about best practices from the many government attendees and their commercial partners.
The focus was CBM (condition-based-maintenance), a sustainment approach that involves installing sensors onto defense equipment, and then remotely monitoring the actual performance of critical systems within a fielded craft – such as a plane or land vehicle.