Obsolescence management

Obsolescence management

Imagine the ability to accurately predict the life cycle of almost every component within your product – saving on costs and avoiding waste.

That’s exactly what our analysis tools can offer; with data from all major component manufacturers and our advanced algorithms, our system can predict the years to the end-of-life for millions of components. Our tools can also anticipate the life cycle of your bill of materials (BOM) instantaneously, while the life cycle status is continuously monitored so you never miss the last time buy (LTB) date.

Our PRODUCT TRACK life cycle management tool is an absolute must when preparing a new BOM.

What is obsolescence management?

Obsolescence often occurs when a product is no longer suitable for current demands or when a product that is still in use is no longer being manufactured. Obsolescence management is the process of planning and implementing strategies to deal with the end-of-life or declining functionality of these products, components, and systems. It involves mitigating risk when parts, tools or skills become obsolete. Obsolescence management oversees all the parts in a system to monitor when they become obsolete, with the intention of replacing them before they become outdated.

The overall goal of obsolescence management is to ensure that products remain usable and reliable for as long as possible, while also addressing the need for replacement or upgrade due to changing technology, regulations, and market conditions. Through an effective and well-thought-out obsolescence management plan, businesses can minimize costs, reduce risk, and improve the overall performance and reliability of their processes, production and manufacturing.

Why is an obsolescence management plan necessary?


With the proliferation of technology within the manufacturing industry, obsolescence becomes more and more apparent. Despite the term also being used for employees and parts that are not necessarily technologically advanced, obsolescence can become more prominent as automation advances – with technology becoming outdated at faster and faster paces.

Without an appropriate and pro-active obsolescence management plan, parts of the system can slow down or even fail entirely, halting operations and preventing workflow and manufacturing.

A robust obsolescence management plan helps business owners understand the risks and vulnerabilities their business could face in the near future and offers planned, pre-emptive solutions to minimise downtime and keep the production process at an optimal rate at all times.

The obsolescence management process from Vanilla covers challenges such as the availability of parts, avoiding counterfeit parts and removing parts and materials. We can also provide the development and sourcing of new components and systems to replace obsolete ones, or implement life extension programs that seek to extend the useful life of existing products so that your business stays ahead of the curve and never faces obsolesce issues in any part of your business.

If you additionally require inventory solutions, we are also able to provide a first-class excess inventory service to help you manage your stock.

Best practices in avoiding component obsolescence

There are some obsolescence management best practices to follow when trying to run operations as smoothly as possible.

Thorough planning will ensure you are prepared for approximately when your parts will become obsolete, allowing you to replace them at a suitable time. You can also plan what you will replace your parts with.

An organised plan should also cover the worst-case scenario – what to do if your part becomes obsolete and halts the process entirely. Smart designs can help avoid or defer obsolescence, with parts being manufactured to have longer life spans within certain environments. This can also be reinforced through careful programming.

Ultimately, these best practices can help longevity and avoid waste, which is better for the environment and business costs. Vanilla’s experience in component and electronics obsolescence management has enabled many clients to operate a more cost-effective management system – engineering and climatic testing of the proposed replacement parts within the product are just some of the ways you can save money with Vanilla.

Our obsolescence management services

As part of our obsolescence management strategy, we can set up alerts on all your material parts, emailing you with any change of lifecycle. You can also be notified when the status of any part changes.

Our technical team of in-house electronics engineers can then make recommendations for alternative longer-life parts. We also have the capability of re-designing and validating new parts for you.

With an understanding of your product’s lifecycle, we can make an up-front analysis for the best material to use to avoid obsolescence, before it becomes a problem.

We can transact your LTBs, often finding cost savings for larger volumes. We can also store the LTB parts in safe, dry storage conditions with protection from electrostatic discharge (ESD).

If you have miscalculated a previous LTB as part of your obsolescence management plan, or even missed the opportunity, then we also offer a part sourcing service. Using the latest part search tools and industry knowledge, we can find parts from across the globe – delivering them to you on time – and test obsolete components.

Engaging with us as early as possible in your new product introduction (NPI) phase means we can provide critical material selection feedback and guarantee a smooth launch to market.

The benefits of planned obsolescence

The advantages of having an obsolescence management plan are many.

Some of the main benefits that an obsolescence management plan can provide to a manufacturing or production business are:

  • Cost savings
  • Improved supply chain management
  • Improved product quality
  • Compliance with regulations
  • Better risk management

Overall, an obsolescence management plan helps manufacturers and production businesses to operate more efficiently, effectively, and sustainably whilst avoiding costly breakdowns and pre-empting and preparing for technology problems before they occur.



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