According to IHS Markit, component vendors issue, on average, twenty-eight product change notifications (PCN) and twenty-two end-of-line (EOL) announcements every day. For product designers, manufacturers and purchasers, this is problematic. Each individual assembly may require parts from multiple suppliers and will likely contain semiconductors that are at different stages of their lifecycle.
Due to the rapid rate of development within the electronics industry and a recent spate of high-profile mergers and acquisitions, the lifecycle of electronic components will only decrease. As product lines undergo periods of rationalisation and new trends and technologies emerge, allowing for the possibility of faster and more efficient chips, the likelihood is that obsolescence will become an unavoidable issue for manufacturers.
If a crucial component has ceased to be produced, then that could force a manufacturer to redesign an entire board or product at great expense. Alternatively, if the stock of that obsolete component can be found, then it often comes with a huge markup in price. A further (and an especially worrying) complication is that over two-thirds of counterfeit reports are linked to parts that have been either discontinued or have entered their end-of-life phase.
Unfortunately, there is no single silver bullet that can solve these issues. Instead, OEMs and CEMs need to adopt a number of strategies to guard themselves against obsolescence. Both proactive and reactive approaches will be required to minimise production delays and keep costs to a minimum, as will having a stable and secure group of preferred suppliers.
Any business relationships is as strong as the last transaction and the electronics industry is no different. Given the fears surrounding counterfeit electronic components, OEMs and CEMs are, rightly, prudent when it comes to selecting their preferred suppliers.
However, when it comes to sourcing quantities of obsolete components, many end users without a wide-ranging portfolio of both franchised and independent vendors can often find themselves swimming against the raging tide of the open market. And when searching for a quantity of obsolete stock, buyers can easily stumble and inadvertently go to dubious grey market sources – and this is where problems begin.
To counteract this, it is important to have a varied portfolio of both franchised and independent vendors. Within that, there should be a company that specialises in securing stock of obsolete and end-of-life electronic components. At times when the parts that you rely on begin to get phased out, your varied and strategic base of suppliers will come into its own, ensuring your supply chain remains strong whilst simultaneously shielding you against inflated production costs.
With intricate knowledge of the global markets, these companies focus on locating obsolete and hard-to-find stock are able to search through millions of lines to track down the required components where other firms often fail. This could be due to a company’s extensive stockholding facilities that are tailored to suit the needs of their customers or through a wide-ranging and quality-driven procurement network.
Since 1994, Lantek Corporation has been helping thousands of OEM and CEM customers to overcome the hurdles associated with purchasing components that have been earmarked for obsolescence.
Thanks to our varied stock portfolio and our worldwide procurement network that features offices in strategic locations such as Central Europe, the United Kingdom and South-East Asia, we are able to pinpoint the quantities of stock needed to keep your production lines running.
As mentioned earlier, over two-thirds of counterfeit reports are related to obsolete component lines. Because of this, trust is incredibly important when it comes to selecting a supplier of hard-to-find electronic parts.
At Lantek, we take extreme pride in our anti-counterfeiting procedures. Throughout our existence, we have invested significant funds in the technologies, certifications and standards required to keep one step ahead of the counterfeiters.
Our entire buying network is carefully scrutinised and continuously evaluated to ensure that we are only purchasing from reputable sources that share our values. And prior to every shipment, each order undergoes a series of inspections by our staff to confirm their authenticity. It is through our unique set of procedures and techniques that we have built up a reputation for being a trusted supplier of hard-to-find, obsolete and shortage electronic components. We know how important your supply chain is and we work hard to ensure that it does not get compromised by the presence of counterfeit parts.
Manufacturing in an age where end-of-life scenarios for crucial components can be problematic. But with the right purchasing network in place, trust in eminent independent distributors and a forward-thinking approach to production, you can protect yourself against the pitfalls of obsolescence.