It is easy to understand the multiple pressures OEMs feel at the end of a product’s lifecycle when there is still customer demand. For customers who need more support for discontinued products, the best-case scenario is that the OEM will free up the engineering resources needed to satisfy the request. The worst-case scenario is that the OEM will kill the product support despite ongoing appeals for support.
Deciding whether to help a customer takes scarce resources, and OEMs routinely find themselves trapped between their desire to satisfy their customers and their own needs. This can induce analysis paralysis.
Analysis paralysis is an inability to act decisively due to overthinking a problem, and it is often driven by making a decision that falls outside established business processes.
Often, decisions drag on for months, requiring subjective input from several stakeholders, with each person needing different information to resolve their unique concerns. It’s not unusual for the request to quietly slip away with no resolution. This burns out both the OEM and the customers’ organizations.
But there is nothing quiet about how slow decision-making and insufficient responses affect everyone. The impact of OEMs’ inaction in developing effective policies and practices to resolve ongoing customer demand for EOL’d designs consumes engineering resources and management time, creates confusion, and leaves a bad taste in customers’ mouths.
To keep their customers happy, OEMs will often accept the order despite their reservations about the opportunity cost. This decision commits them to eventually resolving the production sustainment issues that drove the decision to EOL the design in the first place.
There is a better way, and it starts by recognizing the reality of post-EOL demand and choosing to break this win-lose dilemma by partnering with a Legacy Equipment Manufacturer (LEM).
An LEM specializes in building sustainment solutions that often reach decades post EOL. LEMs have the processes needed to sustain old product designs indefinitely. This quickly relieves the OEM from the responsibility of supporting the product while ensuring the OEM gets the credit they deserve for enabling a path to support customers.
Using an LEM is a win-win strategy for all. Customers are grateful and feel more confident working with the OEM on new designs. The OEM is happy because they’re relieving resource bottlenecks and streamlining decisions about transitioning support for older lower-performing designs.
That’s it. No more analysis paralysis.