Obsolescence Plans


In today’s production and operational environment there is the ever increasing need to achieve the best possible performance from assets. Manufacturers of equipment are always trying to provide improved products to meet the challenge. For small consumer items this is not necessarily a huge problem. Even though an item of equipment may not be the latest it can still meet most functional requirements. e.g. mobile telephone.

However, a more critical and different and major problem occurs with capital type equipment, where it is expected to have a long life, often several decades. As the equipment gets older it becomes more difficult to get component spares, trained staff on the equipment, and relevant documentation. It can quickly become uneconomical and unsupportable for technical or

In a through life context, these product and support issues become a major concern and are only resolved through a well thought out obsolescence management program. Such a program is the “critical underpinning path” to getting the maximum useful life out of an asset. This work provides the knowledge to develop and manage obsolescence management programs.

The remaining useful life of any asset is determined at the time of its selection and the support infrastructure and programs that are put in place for its life. At that time, intrinsically and unintentionally, irrevocable through life obsolescence issues have been activated. e.g. Equipment ordered may be unknowingly late in their production cycles and thus consequently difficult to support soon after delivery. Obsolescence can present itself in many forms but its primary affects are felt in the engineering and logistics areas such as product economy and quality, modifications, spares, training, documentation, and support.

The three main forms of obsolescence are economic, technical and social. All three forms can happen concurrently, but in some cases one may dominate. It is necessary to be able to consider these forms independently and interdependently. The two main obsolescence programs are reactive and proactive. A reactive program usually results in hurried decisions, excessive purchases and expensive substitutions. A proactive program usually results in cost effective solutions, effective use of design resources and better utilisation of support resources. Obsolescence management should be an inclusive proactive integral part of the asset selection, operations, maintenance, and maintenance support disciplines.

We rely upon disciplines such as safety, reliability, maintainability and maintenance to ensure that our assets are capable and dependable to deliver the product quality and economic returns we expect. However, these noble efforts, often at great cost and work, can be very easily sabotaged if obsolescence is not properly planned and otherwise managed throughout the life of the asset and the product it makes.

Obsolescence management is the “critical path” through the life of an asset for underpinning activities to assure that the remaining useful life of the asset is optimised. It is a specialist area that looks at the primary forms of obsolescence and then balances resources to ensure that the asset has the longest useful life that is practical. All of the components of an obsolescence program must be identified and resourced throughout the life of an asset to achieve the desired result. Simply focusing on one component will not have the same impact on an asset’s useful life as a sound obsolescence management program.

Summary of Activities

Activity topics include statistics, cost calculations, descriptions and explanations, and general calculations. This method adapts the selection of material to suit the deliverable requirements and form the body of knowledge for analysis. The main analysis is based on the SSCC context. A wider Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) should be addressed to identify those items In need of analysis.

We work with you to develop these key plans to achieve operations outcomes.

For information about this service please email Adrian Stephan to request information.

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