Tap into 25-years of obsolescence management experience

IIOM Global’s vice chairman, Wolfgang Heinbach, invites readers to visit an IIOM meeting as a guest, become a member, learn from others and get help from solution providers

Issues the electronics industry is currently facing, like broken supply chains, the silicon chip crisis and lack of material, carbon energy and people, are obsolescence related problems. It’s clear that companies not taking note of potential obsolescence and creating a strategy to overcome it will be in big trouble, sooner or later.

Many companies have experienced obsolescence and fight it with makeshift and best effort approaches, most of them reactive. The typical approach is ‘we can’t get this, big problem, let’s start some emergency actions’ wasting money and work force time.

Is there a better approach? Yes, there is. For 25-years the International Institute of Obsolescence Management (IIOM) has helped companies manage obsolescence through research, best practice exchange, standardization activities and continuous professional development. Formerly founded as the Component Obsolescence Group (COG) in the UK in 1997, it has developed from a small group of companies to a global community with Chapters in Germany, France, India and the United States and several hundred members worldwide.

Regular member meetings and an international conference provide a mix of formal presentations and informal events at which obsolescence engineers, buyers and solution providers can exchange ideas—not just on obsolescence but also key issues such as REACH, conflict minerals and counterfeiting. The meetings also provide access to suppliers of the latest tools and systems developed to support obsolescence monitoring and management.

IIOM Global is dedicated to improving the knowledge and best practice of obsolescence practitioners. The IIOM United States Chapter plans to introduce a monthly webinar series later this year to provide obsolescence management best practices to the community.

Traditionally, systems such as: air traffic control; aviation flight computers; railway signaling; nuclear powerplant controls; medical scanners; communication infrastructure; and many other legacy business systems and utilities, are good examples of being overtaken by new technology. The principles that apply to these products can also be used successfully for software, hardware, spare parts and skills.

For equipment with a long lifecycle, the original design requirement remains unchanged, sometimes for several decades, meaning that proactive obsolescence management has become a necessity to ensure delivery to the customer in a cost effective and timely manner.

The skills associated with obsolescence management are an asset to any purchasing department. When the buy in from management, to engineers, to purchasing is there, it is a force to be reckoned with. The practices carried out in organizations that suffer at the hand of obsolescence are relevant for the current supply chain and companies that you wouldn’t expect, automotive for example, are employing engineers with obsolescence skills to aid future resilience.

The time is right to implement obsolescence management and act proactively. Visit an IIOM members meeting as a guest, become a member and learn from others or get help from the solution providers. Obsolescence is here to stay and will not go away by ignoring it.