The word “obsolescence” comes from the Latin term “obsoletus” and refers to something that is already disused, discarded, or antiquated.

It is impossible to foresee accurately every change that will occur over the decades of long service life system’s production and maintenance. Nevertheless, thoughtful planning and programming of systems can do much to avoid early obsolescence, both for new constructions or substantial reconstruction.

Why is obsolescence management needed? While companies strive to achieve long term system availabilities, component obsolescence can negatively impact:

Reactive Obsolescence Management
Reactive obsolescence management is the method of acting upon the end of life of a component, after the EOL (End Of Life) notice is released. Reactive management is concerned with determining an appropriate and immediate solution to the problem of obsolete components. Reactive obsolescence management tries the following solutions to mitigate the risk of obsolescence:

It is important to identify possible ways to react if obsolescence occurs, starting at a simple part substitution up to a major redesign of a product.

Most people associate counterfeiting with street vendors not quite looking trustworthy and pulling out brand name watches from their cloak asking “Wanna buy a Rolex?” However, combating counterfeits has become a major concern for the information technology industry today and is raising awareness of original component manufacturers (OCMs).

Generally, a distinction is made between six different reasons why obsolescence can occur. To avoid or minimize the effects of obsolescence it is inevitable and essential to understand why obsolescence can appear (see also Reasons for the Occurrence of Obsolescence):

If beer becomes obsolete, would you...

There are several reasons for the occurrence of obsolescence.

What is CM? 
CM is a management process technique which attempts to fully implement a process of documenting all requirements, designs and operational information of configurations and products in line over their lifetime. CM is a widely used technique in organizations to manage complex systems. CM manages the product information through its whole lifetime. One of the most important points of a consistent CM process is the documentation of all requirements, designs, baselines, part lists etc.. The CM process is establishing a process for the correct implementation of documents and ensures that they are always up to date, validated and released before use. The documentation has to be available for all users. CM verifies that the configuration is in line with the requirements and the documentation and ensures the functionality of the product. An important CM rule states that a "requirement is not a requirement unless it is documented". Documents have to be clear, concise and valid. They can be seen as the product's mirror.

Daily thousands of Product Chance Notifications (PCNs) and End-of-Life notifications (EOL/ PDN) are received by companies worldwide. But have you ever thought about all the consequences of these notes? Can you appraise all risks of a false or tardy reaction in handling obsolescence?

One of the goals if companies create a new system or product is to ensure the ability to avoid obsolescence once they start production. Comprehensive obsolescence management should integrate processes, methods and procedures in a company to ensure that their products are producible and can be supported over their complete life time. Therefore, the context of obsolescence management is to “co-ordinated activities to direct and control an organization with regard to obsolescence” [DIN62402].

In order to cut costs, the first thing that many organizations do is to reduce salary costs: the laying off of employees. When this does not help with a significant enough result, they reduce training budgets and innovation programs. What follows are even more unpleasant and ineffective cuts. All these activities may help to reduce overall costs on an immediate or even possibly mid-term basis but the future of the organization is in jeopardy.

It seems to be the best way to tackle obsolescence at the point it occurs, e.g. direct at the supply parts. Therefore, it is helpful to use the bill of materials (BoM) to find the corresponding items in the system. This is a paramount activity in order to manage obsolescence proactively and cost effectively. The aim is to categorize all the parts out of the BoM in a systematic scheme and treat them in different ways. In general, seven steps are required: