Diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) or Diminishing manufacturing sources (DMS) is defined as: “The loss or impending loss of manufacturers of high tech items or suppliers of high tech parts, components, products or raw materials needed to manufacture finished IT product and systems.
Obsolescence refers to a lack of availability due to statutory and process changes, as well as new product designs and development; whereas DMSMS is a lack of sources or materials.
Impact on IT Industry
Although it is not strictly limited to electronic systems much of the effort regarding DMSMS deals with electronic components that have a relatively short life cycle and very short lifetime. In a lot of government and defense related projects ,DMSMS has a serious negative impact. This not only delays implementation of new electronic systems and process but also increases the cost of new IT projects immensely.
Causes for DMSMS in IT World
DMSMS is an enigmatic problem because there are at least three main elements that need to be considered.
First, a primary concern is the ongoing improvement in technology. As new products are designed, the technology that was used in their predecessors become outdated, making it more difficult to repair or upgrade and maintain the equipment.
Second, the mechanical parts may be harder to acquire because less is produced as the demand for these parts decreases.
Third, the materials required to manufacture a piece of equipment may no longer be readily available or in other terms become obsolete.
IT Product life cycle
All electronic devices and systems are subject to the product life cycle. As products evolve into updated versions, they require parts and technology distinct from their predecessors. However, the earlier versions of the product often still need to be maintained throughout their life cycle. As the new product becomes predominant, there are fewer resources available to repair or fix the earlier versions and the technology becomes outdated.
There are 6 distinct phases of a product’s life cycle: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, Saturation, Decline, and Phase Out. Once a product completes Phase Out it is considered Discontinued. In this fast paced technology age era the product life cycle is becoming shorter and shorter.
Mitigation / Alleviation Efforts
DMSMS is managed through various risk mitigation efforts, both during the manufacturing of a product as well as later in the products life cycle. DMSMS is a hot topic in Defence industry, military supply where the usable lifetime of an electronic system may far exceed the availability of the components used to produce that system.
Signs and symptoms of a DMSMS Problems / issue are:
- Notification of a part that will be discontinued in the future.
- A system that uses a unique part that can only be produced by a single manufacturer.
- Dwindling of parts for a system, but no replacements over time.
- Planning in a new system design that does not consider future obsolescence problems.
- A parts list that contains an end-of-life cycle part before a system has gone into production.
The core methodology for DMSMS analysis has been to make direct contact with the supplier of an item. Direct contact takes the form of phone, e-mail or other forms of communication with a competent supplier representative. This is essential in the management of commercial off-the-shelf / End Of Life products and assemblies
Other methodologies involve subscription to data services which monitor parts lists, known as a Bill of Materials (BOM), for activity on any one part in the end user’s list. Often both the classic methodology and the data subscription methodology will be used in conjunction to provide a more complete assessment of a part’s availability and lifetime
One strategy used to combat DMSMS is to buy additional inventory during the production run of a system or part, in quantities sufficient to cover the expected number of failures. This strategy is known as a lifetime buy. Even though this may seem expensive in the short run , it would be a cost effective way to minimize the negative costly effect of DMSMS over a longer period of time.