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Obsolescence in the parts supply chain? Are you ready?

The parts supply chain is a complex puzzle. New semiconductor designs, continued calls for low-power consumption and shorter life cycles are making supply chain management even more complicated.

The average component life cycle is now only 10 years.

With shrinking life cycles there is a growing sense of urgency for industry professionals. 94% of engineers say they feel greater time pressure and stress to solve problems even more efficiently and effectively than they did just three years ago.

Low-power consumption is accelerating obsolescence.

  • PLDs: For programmable-logic devices (PLDs), parts obsolescence is an increasing problem due to rapid innovation in lower-voltage components.
  • Microprocessors: Almost 2,500 new microprocessor part numbers introduced in 2014 had a nominal supply voltage of 1 volt or less.
  • FPGAs: Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are now typically below 2.6 volts, and fresh upstarts go as low as 0.85 volts.

The unfortunate result of the rising tide of obsolescence is a dramatic increase in counterfeit parts. As obsolescence grows, so does parts counterfeiting. “End-of Life”, “Not Recommended for New Design” and “Discontinued” parts make up 71% of the counterfeit reports since 2013. Counterfeit parts result in $7.5 billion in lost revenue, annually.

Obsolescence impacts everyone in the supply chain

  • Procurement Manager: Procurement has become more responsible over the years to ensure the overall success of a company’s supply chain.
  • Design Engineer: Design engineers play a critical role in minimizing the impact and costs of parts obsolescence during their product’s life.
  • Compliance Manager: Compliance managers must mitigate the heightened risk of counterfeits when parts succumb to obsolescence.
  • Component Engineer: Component engineers require access to timely, accurate and complete part data to respond to PCNs and EOL notifications.


Ross Beiler

Mr. Beiler has over 30 years of experience managing decision support tools used by electrical design engineers, component engineers, supply chain, compliance, and sustainment professionals. The tools support solutions for engineering, supply chain, and procurement users for numerous customers in the Hi-Tech, Telecommunications, Aerospace and Defense, Automotive, Medical, Manufacturing, and Process industries. His skills include Agile product owner, product management, project management and solution architecture of parts management systems, enterprise information systems, decision support systems, component and supplier management, component obsolescence, component environmental compliance, strategic sourcing, and workflow process automation. His technical background includes information technology, product development, database design and management, system administration, systems engineering, and electrical design.

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