The chip shortage has continued into 2022 with signs that it could last into Q4 (or even next year). These sourcing disruptions, combined with the typical challenges of obsolescence, have made it even harder to produce and service products using older tech.
If you’ve recently received an EOL notice for parts that are core to your products or business, you may be wondering — where can I source new components to maintain an obsolete inventory?
Here are 5 viable options that you can consider to suit your situation and needs:
Your first option is to take action before your components reach EOL and establish a safety stock. When used effectively, safety stock can not only insulate you from fluctuations in demand, but also from unexpected stockouts or EOL/obsolescence issues.
A reasonable stockpile of excess inventory is a preventative measure that keeps an emergency option on the table in return for modest excess inventory warehousing costs. This can be an effective strategy if you anticipate that a key component will soon enter EOL or production of that component will decline in the near future.
A Last Time Buy (LTB) notice is an important opportunity for manufacturers, suppliers, and OEMs that rely upon a soon-to-be-obsolete inventory. Sourcing will become more difficult once the part is no longer in active production, so consider carefully whether it’s worth the investment to stock up now with a sizable LTB order that can sustain your operation until you can transition away from the obsolete components or find a viable alternative part or source. Keep in mind that this strategy takes additional storage space, which can incur its own costs.
Sensible Micro can assist you with an LTB stocking strategy and potentially scheduling the LTB order out over a period of time as opposed to purchasing all of the EOL components all at once.
Releases of Surplus Stock of Obsolete Components
This is less common in a market that’s experiencing heavy shortages, but keep an eye out for surplus stock releases for EOL components or obsolete components that you need. Other suppliers or manufacturers may have stockpiled excess obsolete inventory, but eventually decided to free up capital or storage space by liquidating their stock. It’s also possible that the company has transitioned to a newer part and no longer needs the older stock.
Our team always has an ear to the ground about surplus stock releases for in-demand obsolete components. Let us know what you need, and we’ll keep you informed of opportunities that arise.
The “Gray” Market
Many manufacturers have turned to alternative sources and independent suppliers to mitigate the impacts of the worldwide chip shortage, and the same strategy can apply to sourcing obsolete components.
It’s worth noting that filling gaps with non-authorized suppliers should take some care. Over the past few years, a larger number of counterfeit or substandard components have entered the market through gray-market sources. A proactive anti-counterfeiting strategy with lab inspection tests is key to preventing problematic purchases and protecting your business.
Sensible Micro is unique among components distributors in that we house a cutting-edge in-house inspection lab with advanced testing capabilities for all of your component purchases.
Partner With an Obsolete Components Distributor
A reliable distributor with a diverse, hybrid network of globally trusted suppliers can be a valuable partner in sourcing obsolete components. Sensible Micro has a long track record of sourcing and inspecting hard-to-find components to help our partners maintain obsolete inventory for their products. In addition to counterfeit detection and quality assurance testing on obsolete products, we can often conduct cross-referencing to find alternate manufacturers for pin-to-pin drop in replacements. Both approaches can avert disruptions or redesigns due to EOL components
We’re always on the lookout for EOL and LTB notifications, and are often among the first to hear about these time-sensitive opportunities. Our vigilance can become your competitive advantage. Get in touch with us today for more info on how we can help with obsolescence management and help you find the parts you need.