Last Time Buys Don’t Have to Be a Last Resort

By Logan Wamsley

Although last time buys are a critical element of any manufacturing process, it has been historically difficult to view them in anything but a negative light. When a last time buy becomes necessary, it means that something has not gone according to plan — a component essential to the build has unexpectedly been transitioned toward obsolescence. Although the act of making a last time buy does ensure that production can continue for the full lifecycle of the product, it also means adding an unexpected working capital expense that the manufacturer may not be able to comfortably take on, not to mention the added responsibility of storing large quantities of last time buy inventory in a safe, secure fashion. Necessary last time buys may be, but they are also inconvenient at best — and outright unmanageable at worst.

But this is a new era in the manufacturing industry, an exciting era. Noticing an inherent market need for new and innovative ideas, companies such as Partstat have sought to reimagine the role last time buys play in a supply chain. Instead of viewing last time buys as a last resort better to be avoided if possible, Partstat EOL Last Time Buy Solutions make them a central focus of the inventory procurement process — one that has a variety of positive, highly-desirable effects:

Preserve Working Capital

The idea is simple: at the point notice is given that a critical component will soon be obsolete, Partstat steps in and purchases the entirety of the needed last time buy inventory on behalf of the customer in a single bulk purchase. Such arrangements can be made regardless of inventory type, quantity, or price — if a last time buy is necessary, Partstat can craft a solution to suit that need. The key detail of this transaction is that Partstat uses its own capital to make the purchase, which means that the customer is not obligated to sacrifice any of their own upfront working capital and can put it instead toward greater ROIC initiatives such as new product designs, organizational expansion, or infrastructure improvement.

Long-Term Semiconductor Storage

In regards to storage, the customer also sees a significant benefit as a result of the EOL Last Time Buy Solution. Instead of being forced to store the critical electronic inventory onsite — even when they may not have the resources or the warehousing space required to secure it in a climate-controlled environment — Partstat handles the entirety of the storage piece for them. Located in Orlando, Florida, Partstat’s storage facilities, including a state-of-the-art vault for component and raw material storage as well as full die and wafer banking capabilities, have the ability to guarantee full business continuity for the customer. Partstat even handles fulfillment of the inventory on a personalized delivery schedule!

A New Way of Thinking

By offering a solution with such a variety of benefits, it quickly changes the perception of how a last time buy is viewed in the eyes of an OEM. Instead of being a last resort, such transactions can instead be looked at as a first resort — a way to preserve the integrity of the product’s lifecycle against unforeseen disruption without the upfront payment. Disruption can come without warning, as the global shutdown following the COVID-19 pandemic proved; true business continuity can only be achieved if all inventory is purchased in the early stages of the manufacturing process. That used to sound unrealistic, but through the use of Partstat’s EOL Last Time Buy Solutions, it just might be a cornerstone of the new supply chain.