Winning the fight against obsolescence

Flip Electronics’ president, Bill Bradford

Flip Electronics’ president, Bill Bradford, reveals how the company helped overcome an obsolescence problem, saving a subcontractor over $3.2M and 14-months in redesigns.

Obsolescence plagues the semiconductor industry. It costs billions of dollars as manufacturers routinely transition to new technologies and end the life of mature product families and devices. Solving obsolescence is a growing problem for military, aerospace, medical and industrial OEMs, faced with shorter component lifespans.

Flip bridges the obsolescence gap with an inventory of popular components no longer produced by manufacturers. Its authorized distribution is supported by data-driven experts who strategically acquire, stock and support end-of-life (EOL), excess, aged and discontinued parts. By doing so, they empower clients to make better sourcing decisions and avoid risks associated with the grey market.

Through swift action and executive level relationships, Flip recently helped secure mission-critical components for the United States Armed Forces.

Multiple branches of the US military and its allies rely on an essential mobile ground-based defense system built by a major prime contractor. When this prime issued a purchase request to its subcontractor for an electronic module—a critical element of a missile system—the subcontractor could not fulfill the order. The integrated circuit they requested was no longer available from any mainline authorized sources. Without this one component, the prime’s entire module could not be built, putting the project and defense system at risk.

The subcontractor learned Flip is an authorized distributor for the integrated circuit’s maker. More research revealed Flip focuses specifically on obsolescence, a win-win. The subcontractor approached Flip and a partnership was formed. However, to move forward, Flip had to become an approved supplier, a typically lengthy process on an already tight schedule.

During the authorization process stages, Flip was attentive and understood the intricate details necessary to move things forward. It submitted all required documentation swiftly and expedited its qualified status.

Next, Flip began analyzing the subcontractor’s potential future demand so the solution would solve the immediate need and proactively ensure they could support the requirements of upcoming projects. Once Flip analysts completed their demand planning, they found that the quantity necessary to fulfill the order was greater than available inventory—the subcontractor needed a solution.

Due to its relationship with this integrated circuit manufacturer, Flip was able to influence the manufacturer to restart production, even though it had been discontinued for years. Flip worked with the manufacturer which built new components from its residual die bank. Not only did the subcontractor complete the order, but they secured enough components to last the next five-years of production.

In this situation, Flip’s established relationship with the manufacturer, paired with the attention to detail that expedited the approval process, saved the subcontractor over $3.2M and 14-months in redesigns. The solution strengthened the subcontractor’s relationship with its prime and the government entities involved, while bringing value back to the manufacturer.

Flip was able to supply the parts, which allowed the subcontractor to fulfill its order and satisfy the request of their most important prime contractor. That prime contractor, in turn, came through for the United States Armed Forces. The fight against obsolescence is crucial and Flip has made it its mission.