Understanding obsolescence, mitigating risk

Obso Global director, Leroy Spence, outlines key factors to consider when planning for obsolescence and how a third-party provider can help


Key to managing obsolescence is a plan which considers every aspect of the plant and its impact on productivity. This should include a machinery and equipment audit, identifying the risk by area, line and machine.


The second stage is to understand the equipment lifecycle. Spare parts do not reach obsolescence at pre-determined intervals and their availability cannot necessarily be predicted, so it is important to understand the equipment lifecycle. This can help build an accurate profile of which parts are current and readily available, which are due to become obsolete and which are already obsolete.


A third stage is to consider an alternative to the obvious ‘like-for-like’ parts replacement. While no reputable supply partner would advocate the use of pirate parts or cheap imports, there are often numerous plug-and-play alternatives or a migration path available that will return the equipment to its original performance.


The final phase is regularly monitoring spare parts and components throughout their service life. Routine, proactive maintenance will always help prolong equipment longevity and help prioritise energy performance. In this way, operators can help lower ownership costs over the lifetime of the equipment.


Once a comprehensive obsolescence management plan is in place, operators should consider forming a partnership with a reputable, third-party supplier who can assist with inventory management, especially when holding large volumes of spare parts on-site is impractical or where the cost of upfront purchase is prohibitive.


Obso Global has launched an obsolescence management guide available to download.