||Pay Now or
Pay More Later
I was at a conference recently, and a group of us were talking about the compelling argument for “proactive DMSMS” – aka legacy management. Whatever you call it, there was a general consensus that it’s less expensive to support long-life systems if you proactively invest in legacy support programs. These kinds of programs vary in scope and scale, but they’re all focused on one thing: ensuring predictable price and long-term availability of reliable parts.
This makes sense, of course, but the question we were wrestling was, “Why doesn’t everyone see this?” I routinely encounter program and materials managers who’re struggling with the reality that the off-the-shelf parts they’ve always bought are no longer available – or have become build-to-order items, with longer lead-times. If parts are available, the cost is often higher than the programs’ budgets, further delaying the procurement process.
In my experience, the reason why everyone doesn’t see proactive DMSMS as the solution is because they’re focused on procurement transactions, and not on total cost of ownership for the life of the program. This is painful for application OEMs who need the product to support their customer base, and it’s also painful for board OEMs who are unable to realize the full ROI potential of their designs.
If the last several years have focused on cost reduction, I hope this next period will focus on realizing the value of proactive sustainment efforts.
When it comes to setting up proactive legacy programs, a penny saved now is a dollar spent later.
Ethan Plotkin, CEO
Critical Thought: Get your boards…while you still can.
Have you ever requested additional post-EOL LTBs from your board OEM, only to find you need more boards later on?
Board OEMs care about their customers. If these OEMs could continue to provide the quality products their customers have come to depend on, most would. For the majority of customers, upgrades are a welcome and viable option; however for some, upgrades are not possible.
Board OEMs do what they can. Most offer some kind of lifecycle assurance plan that can extend support for 5-10 years after EOL of the board. Unfortunately, funding and forecasting for unusually long and sometimes indefinite program lifecycles leave these plans out of reach for many customers.
In an effort to support their customers, we have witnessed OEMs perform as many as 4 last-time-builds. Sometimes by the time the board OEM can no longer build the board, it can be more than 10 years beyond the original EOL date.
But the reality is that supporting legacy systems and manufacturing legacy boards requires a completely different approach- an approach which most board OEMs are just not positioned to do profitably.
Alternatives to additional post-EOL LTBs exist for many legacy systems, and these can significantly lower costs and increase availability. However, each additional post-EOL LTB request eats up time, while the opportunity window for more cost-effective solutions closes for programs and applications with especially long lifecycles.
Understanding these options before they go away is critical to ensuring you have your embedded boards when you need them, whenever that is.
Bill and the GDCA Team
||In This Issue
|November 3 – December 4, 2015
|DMC/DMSMS Conference – Phoenix, AZ
|February 23-25, 2016
|Embedded World – Nurnberg, Germany
|March 15-17, 2016
|AIA Supplier Management Council – Cincinnati, OH
Compliance: Counterfeit Electronic Parts information