PCB and Electronic Systems

Service initiative "Services in EMS"

Obsolescence-Management of Delivery Capability / Service Initiative „Services in EMS“

Obsolescence describes the state which occurs when an item or process is no longer available.

For an EMS provider, this means that components required for ongoing orders are no longer available, either unexpectedly or planned. In addition to components processes can also be affected that can or may no longer be implemented.

Causes for such obsolescence can be, that it is no longer economical for a manufacturer to continue production at the selling price. The background may be higher production costs, but also falling demand. As a result, he would have to pass on his costs or reduce or stop production.

Innovation cycles for components also ensure that it simply no longer makes sense to continue using obsolete components. Here new components offer compatible solutions that require redesign.

Components, especially semiconductor chips, are very complex and are manufactured in a few wafer fabs. These are so specialised that individual operations are only carried out by a handful of factories worldwide (e.g. housing). If only one of these specialists fails, e.g. destruction by environmental disasters, bottlenecks arise that affect the entire supply chain. Legislation on environmentally hazardous raw materials (e.g. RoHS* directive, substance bans) or political requirements and compliance (e.g. REACH** regulation, Dodd Frank Act) also ensure that certain components or processes become obsolete and disappear from the market in some regions.

There are many risks in material supply - obsolescence is one of them. Obsolescence management solutions are found by the EMS provider together with customers and suppliers and applied throughout all phases of the product life cycle:

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The EMS Service Initiative

Quality through competence and tailor-made service, an initiative of EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Services) provider in the ZVEI PCB and Electronic Systems Division. More than 30 providers of electronic manufacturing services (EMS) in the ZVEI PCB and Electronic Systems Division have joined the initiative "Services in EMS" founded in 2006.

They are boased in Germany, Austria or Switzerland and offer their customers a uniform standard of service. This is defined by seven value-added areas - development, design, test concept, material management, production, logistics and distribution and after-sales services - as well as the associated modules and by fixed minimum standards.

The participating EMS providers guarantee that they comply with these standards. In return, they acquire the rights to use a registered service logo, which signals quality and service competence and strengthens the trust between customers and EMS providers.

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PCN (Product Change Notification)

is essential to manage innovation cycles, quality requirements and price pressure.

With a PCN a manufacturer of a product informs his customers about technical changes. These changes can affect all aspects of production: Relocation of production, conversion of production processes, changes of components or recipes, impending obsolescence.

The aim is to ensure that for the complex electronic modules and systems with their large variety of components and rapid innovation and change cycles, the change information for the product, the production processes over the entire life cycle and the entire value chain is provided with sufficient advance notice.

So far the theory. If one considers the short lifespan of today's components and their availability, the conflict between the product on the market and the electronic modules and systems used is obvious. Particularly in the industrial sector, the individual components in the module or system must fulfil long life cycles, functional reliability and thus long test and capability proofs. Each change and in the worst case, the replacement of the individual component in the obsolescence case means a considerable change effort in the value chain.

It quickly becomes clear that with the increasing intelligence of products (e.g. on the Internet of Things), PCN management is more than just passing on information. It is an independent service that supports the availability and security of products on the market.

PCN management includes data preparation with the processing of information diversity (Internet, telephone, e-mail, letter, data sheet, catalogue, ...), the qualification of information up to the recommendation for re-design/replacement.

A prerequisite for good PCN management is a service contract with the EMS partner that is tailored to the product and the responsibilities, and that ensures performance in a complex value chain.

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