Wood Burning as Disposition for End-of-Life Products
I live on a ranch in northern California. This winter, we accounted for the dead oak trees and cleared them for the first time. Some of the wood we used for decoration, some to frame the dog’s new pen, and some we decided to sell. Because we do not sell wood for a living, we found this new venture enjoyable and the income was pleasantly unexpected.
My new family venture reminded me of product portfolios at embedded original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). At any given time, a product portfolio can have new, mature, almost-discontinued, and obsolete products with low volume or sporadic demand. So, can an OEM utilize the “dead trees” of obsolete designs to profit as I did with my wood? Absolutely.
The best way is by collaborating with a legacy equipment manufacturer (LEM) whose business model is the indefinite sustainment of post-EOL products. By doing so, the OEM establishes an unexpected source of income, clears ups engineering resources and manufacturing congestions, and makes the product available to those who need it.
Why work with an LEM and not do it yourself? Why don’t I trade my day job as an LEM development director and start selling wood? Well, although I like helping people and cleaning up the ranch, it would not be prudent. The business model is different. I would have to acquire new skills, machinery, customers, and sales routes—in short, I would have to establish a completely new structure.
If, next winter, the time spent cutting and selling wood goes beyond a temporary hobby, believe me, I will hire someone to manage it for me.