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Avoiding supply chain disruptions caused by discontinued electronic components

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Basedig's "Supply Safe" helps your company avoid disruptions related to end of life components. This articles provides more details on the process.

Supply chain disruptions can be detrimental to manufacturers, often causing delays, increased costs, and even potential failures in the final products. In the electronics industry, one common cause of these disruptions is the discontinuation or end-of-life (EOL) status of critical components. Addressing this challenge proactively is imperative. This article will guide you on how to assess and mitigate the risks associated with EOL components and how databases, like Basedig’s “Discontinued Components Database”, play a pivotal role in this effort.

Supply Chain Disruption Discontinued Components

Understanding the Problem of EOL Components

Every electronic component has a life cycle. From its introduction to growth, maturity, and eventual decline, a part can be phased out for various reasons: technological obsolescence, reduced demand, or a shift in the manufacturer’s product strategy. When a component reaches its end-of-life, manufacturers cease its production, and it becomes harder to procure, leading to potential disruptions in the supply chain, if the component is in the bill-of-material of one of your products.

Dicontinued and End of Life electronic component

One should be aware that the economic impact for the manufacturer may be completely disconnected from the cost of the component itself. A part worth a few cents (such as a diode) can cause the production of a much more expansive product to stop, if no replacement for the part is found in time….And the product redesigned accordingly.

Assessing and mitigating the supply chain disruption risk

The first step for a manufacturer to avoid supply chain disruptions related to EOL components, is to make a thorough assessment of the components to be disrupted or having already reached their “end-of-life”.

Typically, semi-conductor producers will issue “Discontinuation notices” or “End of Life notices” to inform their clients that specific part numbers will be discontinued. A component discontinuation notice will contain among others the component’s part number, the last available procurement date, and hopefully replacement parts. Unfortunately, the discontinuation notices are usually issued as PDF documents, which are sent by email to the direct customers of the producers.

Scanning the bills of materials for discontinued components

The ideal process to assess the risk of disruption, is to scan the bills of materials (BOM) of products and compare the part numbers in the BOMs to the discontinued part numbers. While this process is correct in theory, it is however hindered by a few practical problems:

Component manufacturers do not always publish a structured and comprehensive database of discontinued products. Very often, the discontinuation notices are published in the form of PDF documents which are not standardized.

Furthermore, there is no consolidated comprehensive database of discontinued electronic parts. Each manufacturer has its own information process and reporting format. Sometimes, components part numbers are provided in generic forms, making a comparison with BOMs difficult.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a unified data model of end of line components and smart processes to check part numbers.

Using Basedig’s Database of Discontinued Electronic Components

Proactive monitoring

Basedig offers an extensive database of discontinued electronic components. The database is built by regularly collecting end of life notifications from the manufacturers themselves. By routinely scanning this database, manufacturers can identify components in their products that might be nearing, or already have passed their EOL. This proactive approach allows companies to plan ahead, preventing last-minute scrambles.

Risk assessment

Not all EOL components pose the same risk. By analyzing the data, manufacturers can prioritize which components require immediate attention based on their significance in the product, volume of usage, availability in the market and the total economic impact on the final product.

Finding replacements for discontinued components

For some discontinued components, direct replacements or alternative parts that can fulfill the same function might be available. Basedig’s database can help manufacturers quickly identify these replacements, ensuring minimal disruptions.

Basedig can also pro-actively search for similar components, based on the technical specifications of the discontinued parts.

Collaborating with major electronic component manufacturers

Building relationships and maintaining communication with major component manufacturers, like NXP, Murata, Vishay, and Infineon, is crucial.

NXP End of life and discontinued component

These manufacturers often provide early notifications about upcoming EOL components, giving companies more time to react.

Tips for working with manufacturers

Direct Communication

Establishing a direct line of communication with the manufacturers ensures timely updates about any changes in component status. Make sure that the EOL notices that you received will be archived and processed efficiently, enabling a swift and automated access to the information.

Alternative Recommendations

Manufacturers may recommend alternatives for EOL components. It's essential to evaluate these suggestions for compatibility and performance to ensure they meet the product’s requirements.

Involving the designers of the end products on time may also be very useful if a PCB redesign is necessary.

Bulk Purchasing

If a component is nearing its EOL and no suitable alternative is available, consider bulk purchasing to secure a stock that lasts until a long-term solution is found. But be cautious of overstocking, which could lead to excess inventory costs. Remember as well that electronic components may also have a limited lifetime, which could cause inventory write-offs and production disruptions.

Contact Basedig to assess your risk of supply chain disruption now

In the dynamic world of electronics, change is the only constant. However, with tools like Basedig’s Supply Safe discontinued components monitoring and strong partnerships with key manufacturers, companies can navigate the challenges of EOL and discontinued components, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted supply chain. Proactivity, collaboration, and technology are the cornerstones of a disruption-free electronic production environment.

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