In the past we’ve talked about the challenges of Last-time Buy and overstock. In Dr. Sandborn’s CALCE Obsolescence Management training, this question illustrates the challenges and risks in regards to what customers can face, at the time of EOL. The answer might be easy if you were looking at a “bridge buy”, where you only need enough to get you to the point of a planned upgrade. If I had to only buy shoes to get me through five years it would be challenging but I could probably come up with a pretty good estimate based on the last five years of my life.
However, to make a purchase that would last me for the rest of my life brings up challenges that I wouldn’t know how to plan for. What if I move from California to Vancouver, and need winter shoes? How long does rubber last, would I need to store it someplace climate controlled? How much money would I need to get together to make a lifetime purchase of these shoes? How long will I live? What if I need shoe repair, will that still be available if no one is selling those particular shoes anymore? And what about counterfeit shoes?
While it may seem silly to be thinking of buying shoes for the rest of your life, Dr. Sandborn’s analogy is sound. These are only some of the questions that come up when customers face end-of-life concerns on the embedded products they need…and for longer than 5 years.
The truth is that successful sustainment of embedded systems takes proactive collaboration. Being responsive vs. reactive minimizes the risks of being left, barefoot and shoe-less.
Kaye & the GDCA Team
For more information on proactive obsolescence management and DMSMS, we encourage checking out the University of Maryland and Dr. Sandborn’s work.