Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Components Obsolescence Management
In 1975, the defense industry had a 17% share of a $4.2 billion semiconductor market. Twenty years later, this percentage shrunk to 0.7% ($1.1 billion) of a now $150 billion semiconductor market with the commercial industry consuming the balance (Figure 2-4). Demand for specific integrated circuits (ICs) from the defense industry was overshadowed by the commercial industry’s requirements, despite increasing device complexities of new military designs. Additionally, defense requirements called for 20-year replacement part availabilities even though the typical life cycle for logic family parts were three years and eight years for passive components. With IC parts being discontinued at a rate of 34,000 per year in 1998 (an average of 153 daily discontinuance notices), Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) set up Components Obsolescence Management to address diminishing manufacturing sources.
Northrop Grumman DSD previously used performance to determine design, and then used design to determine the parts needed. The company’s new approach is to use performance and cost goals to determine design and the parts needed. The goals of Components Obsolescence Management are to: Decrease product and development costs by reducing the number of active parts.
Decrease the number of suppliers.
Shorten product time-to-market by reducing approval time.
Improve product quality by controlling the number of preferred parts.
Improve component information knowledge and speed of part selection during design, procurement, and manufacturing.
Components Obsolescence Management uses various tools that assist Northrop Grumman DSD’s personnel in the selection of design components for programs. The Preferred Parts Selection List (PPSL) uses various factors (e.g., hardness, reliability, safety, platform) to maintain the company’s current database of over 17,000 parts. Product Data Management (PDM) tools (e.g., Aspect’s Explore, TACTech, Metaphase II) help standardize parts as well as reduce or eliminate parts with short life cycles. Additionally, comprehensive information such as obsolescence, re- use, life cycle data, parametric data, cost, reliability, approved sources, and diminishing manufacturing sources can be tracked, sorted, and compiled by using these management tools.
Since 1996, Northrop Grumman DSD’s Intranet website has provided design and procurement personnel with information on obsolete specifications; changes in part selections, derating, and applications; hot links to other websites for updated information; and obsolescence issues. By using the Intranet website, design personnel can also access the PPSL to research and select parts for new designs. This system can be customized to display specific parts lists based on the program of interest, thus preventing extrinsic parts from being selected. Personnel can also use a standardization effectivity program to get a rough indicator rating on how well their design has utilized standard components, even providing comparisons with previous designs.
Components Obsolescence Management has made an immediate impact at Northrop Grumman DSD. Of the 35 systems in production during the last five years, none have required an obsolescence-related redesign. Based on a typical three-redesigns-per-program requirement, the company achieved a cost avoidance of around $52 million. In addition, the on-line PPSL information has generated an estimated annual savings of 24,000 hours in engineering research. By using the collective industry knowledge of these management tools, Northrop Grumman DSD continues to provide fully supported, quality products which are cost efficient and competitive.
Figure 2-4. Declining Military Presence
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