Original Date: 09/14/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Management
Like other military contractors, Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) is faced with the ongoing problem of electronic component obsolescence. This issue is occurring because the number of military systems in operation is decreasing. In today’s market, the military represents less than 1% of the semiconductor market (Figure 3-1). The life cycle of technologies used in design, production, and spare support is also rapidly shrinking. Nowadays, the semiconductor market focuses on businesses that procure electronic components in large quantities, leaving small consumers to fend for themselves. To address this problem, RMSC developed a Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) management strategy to evaluate other avenues for dealing with component obsolescence.
RMSC’s DMS management strategy is similar to other programs within industry. First, the company monitors the discontinuance notices forwarded by component manufacturers, industry trend analysis, and aftermarket suppliers to determine what might be available as a replacement. Next, this information is entered into a database for tracking long- and short-term affected applications. Finally, the health assessment of other programs and products is reviewed to forecast system life support requirements. The primary driver for establishing this database is to fulfill the program requirements of low cost/quality resolutions, which is the only acceptable end-line resolution for DMS issues. Often, this fulfillment is done by using alternate part selections, end-of-life buys, Generalized Emulation of Microcircuits, or aftermarket sources.
Although RMSC is striving to stay within the boundaries of the program requirements, the company faces an ever- increasing resistive force of supply and demand, induced by larger market forces. COTS and PEM products offer functional replacements in many cases, but their life cycles cannot satisfy the long-term production requirements. COTS and PEM components typically have a life cycle of 18 months compared to the military-grade component life cycle of seven to ten years. With these replacements, designs cannot mature to production prior to components becoming obsolete in the market.
RMSC is not alone in its search for a permanent solution to the electronic component obsolescence issue facing military contractors. For now, the DMS management strategy is a temporary answer.
Figure 3-1. Total Worldwide Semiconductor Usage (1996)
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