November 11, 2016

Los Angeles Goes Obsolete – The Future of Obsolescence Management

At our previous Future of Obsolescence Management (FOM) events in Amsterdam, we were delighted that several representatives from customers and partners located in the United States were able to join us. In fact, two of our guest speakers at FOM 2016 joined us from across the Atlantic to lead a discussion around innovation in early September, receiving a great response from attendees regarding their perspective and experiences on supply chain disruption.

Supply chain disruptions – where unexpected or unplanned events adversely affect a company’s ability to complete or deliver projects – are becoming increasingly worrisome throughout the electronics landscape. In a 2015 study by the Business Continuity Institute, 48% of respondents admitted that they were either “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about supply chain disruptions. Tellingly, 72% of respondents admitted that they lacked full visibility of their supply chains. In the very same study, 14% admitted that losses from supply chain disruption had cost over €1m.

Obsolescence can be a key problem, and once redesign (replacing one component with another) and re-certification (ensuring that the replaced part functions as it should in end applications) are taken into consideration, the costs here can easily hit nine figures.

Obsolescence, of course, is not a problem limited to those of us in Europe, and it would be poor form to forget that the United States is the second-largest trading nation on the planet, with a large focus on high-reliability and high-criticality goods, and a need for obsolescence best practices, communication and innovation. The Los Angeles County area, for example, is home to over 300 aerospace and defense (A&D) companies with almost 60,000 employees, not to mention world-leading educational institutions such as UCLA, Stanford and Caltech.

By hosting an FOM event in this area, we felt we could harness the experience of cutting-edge engineering minds to share their experiences and visions of the future, which are key aspects of FOM. With this in mind, we were delighted to accept an invitation to attend the Arrow Electronics Technology Forum in early October in North Los Angeles to bring FOM to the United States.

For the event, my counterpart Bill Fliegel, Americas director for FOM, collaborated closely with Converge sister companies Arrow Supply Assurance and SiliconExpert to explain the benefits of working on an end-to-end solution for data and component tracking, mitigating the risk of obsolescence and supply chain disruption.

Bill was joined onstage for a panel discussion by industry experts from Arrow Supply Assurance, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, and Orbital ATK, covering a wide variety of topics and taking Q&A from the floor. Innovative ideas around collaboration and both upstream and downstream data sharing, as well as lessons learned from the automotive industry, were extremely well-received and promoted thoughtful debate.

Following the event, and after reviewing feedback from attendees and contributors, we’re excited to announce that Converge will be bringing FOM to the West Coast (USA) in 2017. We’re already compiling an agenda and identifying speakers, and are open for paper submissions. If you would like to be involved, contact me at

Visit this blog for future details, join the FOM community or contact your local Converge contact.

Keep innovating!

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