The New Kids on the Supply Chain Block

The New Kids on the Supply Chain Block

Electronics obsolescence causes far bigger shockwaves across supply chains than most people realize. The domino effect typically starts with the discontinuation of a component on the circuit board, and then cascades all the way through the supply chain to the end-user’s equipment. The result is a relentless avalanche of cross-industry costs, supply chain inefficiencies, and diminished product performance. From individual companies to their customers, electronics obsolescence, especially embedded circuit board obsolescence, can have devastating effects.

In response to the chronic pain that electronics obsolescence inflicts across nearly every link in the supply chain, a new type of manufacturer has emerged–Legacy Equipment Manufacturers (LEMs). A legacy equipment manufacturer, or LEM, is a specialized manufacturer of embedded boards and related products that are obsolete–either they have long been discontinued or EOL notices have been issued and the OEM can no longer support the product and remain profitable. 

Seeing these difficulties, manufacturers began developing different and unique approaches to combat this  obsolescence – both in-house and outsourcing.

Legacy equipment manufacturing has been around for many years, to serve as a source for EOL’d or obsolete embedded related products, and small manufacturers have been filling this niche.  However, these companies, with GDCA included, were just a surrogate for the supply chain headaches that electronic obsolescence brings. 

GDCA was one such manufacturer who wanted to take a new approach towards obsolescence management. We are an OEM authorized legacy equipment manufacturer, meaning that our partner OEMs have allowed us to manufacture a product that is fit, form, and functionally exact to the original product that they had designed and built. We take a more proactive approach to sustainment, as well as take measures to avoid counterfeit components, old boards with possible component fall-out, and untested modifications that could interfere with legacy software. Essentially, we are a type of LEM that manufactures new and authentic embedded boards that precisely match the original product. 

GDCA has partnered with many OEMs and their customers in order to supply them with a new, strategic supplier relationship that supports the OEM’s internal capabilities and provides the products their customers need at the same time. LEMs have proven their worth as an excellent and strategic sourcing partner, presenting an innovative capability to assist all affected companies with electronics obsolescence. They are uniquely positioned to perform all research, rebuilding, and support of legacy products, from solving gaps in broken down supply chains to rebuilding testing capabilities for finished boards to building new sources of supply for discontinued components. LEMs work to meet the same goal–provide support for their customers.

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As the pioneer in COTS obsolescence management, GDCA is authorized by our OEM partners to continue to manufacture and repair the embedded legacy products critical to long-lasting applications. Using OEM-authorized IP and original specifications, GDCA provides repair, long-term customer support, manufacturing, and sustainment for over three thousand End-of-Life, COTS, and custom-embedded computer boards and systems.

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