Proactive remanufacturing is not a story about forecasting and planning lifetime buys for components. It’s a story about availability. Being proactive and planning for remanufacturing means focusing on the long term availability of every component, assembly and product in your supply chain. Keeping remanufacturing processes moving is a tall order. The secret is having parts available whenever you need them, throughout the lifecycle of your product(s).
Making Proactive Remanufacturing Work for Your Company
Proactive remanufacturing is an engineering process that involves specialized knowledge and best practices, for engaging and avoiding particular methods of PLM. If followed, these practices can save time and money in unplanned investments, and can accelerate time to delivery. If ignored, they can slow production processes, make delivery cycle times shoot up, and even hasten the end of a product’s life.
Proactive remanufacturing is the way to look ahead and choose the reman processes and partners that best control production costs, and make future repairs more efficient.
Proactive remanufacturing requires careful management of parts and production processes. OEMs must:
- Trace, track and fulfill parts throughout component and product life cycles
- Avoid the need for retooling and reverse engineering
- Avoid product obsolescence
Avoid the Need for Retooling and Reengineering
Planning ahead for remanufacturing at the outset of a project can help to avoid the need for retooling later. It’s not uncommon to have constant design changes in electronic component manufacturing. These changes can range from adjusting existing production runs to designing and building new component production lines.
Retooling can require the physical resources (tools, machinery, controls and other IT hardware) human expertise (skills, experience and know-how), and technical capabilities (making drawings or parts lists) needed to produce a component exactly like the original part during remanufacturing.
When a component line has already been shut down, the effort and resources it takes to retool can be exhorbitant. In the case of a part or component that is out of production, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) is usually too high too warrant retooling at all.
Avoiding Product Obsolescence
Proactive remanufacturing also means keeping a product from becoming obsolete. When a part is no longer available from its original manufacturer, it’s said to be obsolete. The problem of obsolescence is prevalent in the electronics industry, where new product features are developed and launched on the market with increasing speed. Proactive remanufacturing is one way to preserve time and energy for innovation.
The problem lies in obsolete parts. From a manufacturing point of view, obsolete parts are an issue because the timeframe that electronic components can be bought in is almost always shorter than the manufacturing and support life cycles of the product that uses the parts.
The result is a serious problem. Product and component life cycles don’t match. In other words, replacement parts for familiar electronics products aren’t always available. One option: toss the product.
Keeping Supply Chain Resources Available
Whether you measure remanufacturing success as efficiency or faster time to delivery, proactive remanufacturing processes can help make your production more successful. Let’s explore the business side of resource availability.
Just as proactive remanufacturing promotes process efficiency, it enables manufacturers to:
- Use fewer human, IT and manufacturing resources than required in reactive processes
- Eliminate the need to invest in machinery, control equipment and other computer hardware and software
- Reduce the need to stop production until parts are manufactured or found
There are two ways to ensure a steady flow of components in your value chain:
- Look ahead and store the components you need throughout product manufacturing life cycle, especially when you have a service center with plenty of logistics and storage capabilities
- Make solid, long-term relationships with reliable suppliers, who can ensure a steady stream of high-quality parts, including the ability to trace, track and fulfill parts throughout component and product life cycles
Maximizing the Value of Proactive Remanufacturing
Proactive remanufacturing enables companies to use or take delivery on electronics products with less time and expense than with reactive processes. That translates into big savings in time and money, such as:
- Avoiding extra operations costs of retooled and reengineered parts
- Avoiding capital costs of retooled and re-engineered production runs
- Faster time to product delivery
- Protecting productivity of production employees
Successful proactive remanufacturing practices combine forward-looking parts management and production processes. When used together, these practices can reduce the time and effort of parts management and promote more efficient production processes.