Working with a second source of supply is a favorable alternative in obsolescence management. Sanctioned by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) with original IP, a second source of supply rebuilds and maintains the supply chain of prime contractors, supporting primes and their customers. New sources of supply can predict and resolve obsolescence issues before they become your problem.
When addressing obsolescence in your embedded boards and applications, it is important to note that some options are more efficient than others. The best way to move forward depends on where you are in the life cycle of your application.
Plan sooner rather than later. Once a part is end-of-life (EOL), if upgrading isn’t in your plans and last-time-buys (LTB) aren’t in the budget, you need to focus on legacy sustainment. Designing a new part is risky and can be just as expensive as upgrading. Also, new parts often are not backward compatible. These “solutions” are frequently incompatible with old hardware, and although replacing perfectly good hardware in every system and even starting over is an option, it’s hardly a practical or efficient one.
Software compatibility is also an issue with new hardware. Either the programs you’re running have to be enhanced to work with both the old and the new parts, or two different software programs must be run and maintained at the same time, which can more than double your costs.
A new source of supply allows sustainment of the affected application using engineering and logistical solutions. Backward compatibility isn’t an issue because the embedded boards are fit, form and functionally the same as those the OEM manufactured and are sure to work within the preexisting structure.
When the time comes to replace an embedded board in your application, you can protect yourself from surprises. Viable alternatives to expensive upgrades are available, cost-effective, and prudent.