What do vintage cars and embedded boards have in common?
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.
With each transaction, that car gets more and more expensive to fix and maintain, but some cars just can’t be replaced.
Now, imagine that instead of getting your car fixed every time it breaks down, you could set up a flat-fixed rate with a mechanic to keep it in top shape. You set the terms of the contract for 30,000 miles per year, over 20 years. The mechanic consents to perform any repairs related to normal wear and tear needed during that 30,000 mile period for an amount which you have already determined. You agree to be responsible for the cost of any repairs due to driver error during that time. If you get more than 30,000 miles during that period, he gets a bonus. Now you have created what the defense industry calls “PBL” (Performance Based Logistics).
Suddenly it is in your mechanic’s best interest to make sure that $300 part is going to remain both available and doesn’t cost thousands of dollars when he has to replace in 10 years. With a PBL, he’s going to need to either: a) build in that cost up front — bad for you; b) take it out of his bottom line — bad for him; or if brought in early enough in the process, he can c) take proactive steps to make sure that part will be available when you both need it — great for both of you.
Now think of GDCA as that mechanic for your embedded boards. We make sure that you have the parts you need, when you need them, so that no one is hit with the unexpected costs of obsolescence… sometime down a dark and lonely road.
The GDCA Team