The Value of Developing Second Source for Obsolete Boards

The Value of Developing Second Source for Obsolete Boards

I’ve recently come back from an exciting two-week road trip, and I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the impact obsolete electronics have on their enterprises. The people I met were knowledgeable, passionate, and in many cases struggling to find a solution or make a business case to remedy their particular obsolescence problem.

One group of Air Force engineers is trying to resolve diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) for circuit cards that their primes can no longer support. For them, the cost of obsolescence involves finding an industry supplier who is willing to reverse engineer the technical data package and make that package available to the government, who can then bid it competitively to other suppliers.

Another group worked for a prime contractor caught between an End-of-Life (EOL) notice and a government program that needed at least ten more years of ongoing support. Under its support contract, the government was responsible for funding the resolution of this particular DMSMS issue, and its costs involved developing a business case of remedial options, which was expected to take more than a year. They were scrambling to achieve simultaneous aircraft readiness targets.

Finally, I recently spoke with several board original equipment manufacturers all struggling with a common problem: ongoing customer demand for older designs that were bogging down their engineering and manufacturing teams and causing them to miss new product introduction deadlines.

It’s interesting that these encounters are simply different sides of the same coin: the marketplace and supply chain are not geared to service old designs and, without an effective strategy, there will be issues. “Second source” is a good option to help with this problem.

Developing a second source for an older design involves restarting the production line and developing a plan that will deliver affordable and predictable manufacturing and repairs of electronics parts for as long as they’re needed.

During our thirty years developing second sources for obsolete commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) boards, we’ve developed the models, processes, and culture to deliver quality manufacturing and repair support. We’re enthusiastic about discovering innovative ways to make people’s lives easier and help them successfully maintain their old equipment.

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