New Expectations for BOM Monitoring Solutions

By Logan Wamsley

Nothing is immune to change in the manufacturing industry. As consumer needs change along with advancements in technology, manufacturers do not, nor do they ever, have the option of remaining idle — or at least remaining idle with the expectation of retaining market share. In order to accomplish consistent market growth, or even remain competitive, OEMs must continually look inward to determine what processes, procedures, and strategies are equipped to meet the expectations of their industry.

BOM monitoring is one such strategy that necessitates this type of consideration. Traditionally, OEMs opt to incorporate BOM monitoring as part of their supply chain strategy to ensure that impending obsolescence-based disruption can be avoided, or at least identified with enough time to make any required adjustments. In other words, this is the set expectation of what a BOM monitoring solution is supposed to provide, no more and no less. While there remains value in such an expectation — and it is an expectation BOM monitoring platforms should continue to meet — maintaining such a narrow view of BOM monitoring significantly underplays the advancements it has made in recent years, and could potentially hamper an OEM’s supply chain as the industry continues to change.

The Challenges of the Market

In 1965, Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Apple, made an ambitious proclamation that the number of transistors that could be packed into a unit of space will double about every two years. Not only has this proven true, the time frame has actually decreased; today, the number of transistors able to fit into a unit of space doubles closer to every 18 months. Called “Moore’s Law,” this nugget is a reasonable rule of thumb that illustrates just how incredible the exponential technological growth seen in the industrial sector really is, and highlights some of the struggles OEMs will have to confront. As the capabilities to incorporate more electronic components into product designs improve, so too must the component manufacturer’s ability to provide electronic components. Should component manufacturers struggle, which has been the case since 2017 and is forecasted to continue into 2020, it then falls to the OEM to adapt to a high-demand, low-supply market.

Readjusting BOM Monitoring Expectations

In order to adapt successfully, OEMs need to re-evaluate what they need from a BOM monitoring solution. Simply being notified when a PCN is issued for an electronic component or semiconductor is simply not enough when the entire market is poised to jump at the same time. An edge is necessary, a methodology that looks deeper into the market and extends the window of opportunity to react beyond what surface level BOM monitoring services have traditionally provided. According to Intel, the number of IoT devices will grow to 200 billion by 2020, up from 2 billion objects in 2006; if an OEM expects to maintain their product lifecycles in the face of such a vast market, chances are very high they will experience disruption.

So, instead of adopting a traditional view of BOM monitoring, it might be time to re-evaluate what an OEM should look for in a BOM monitoring platform. Partstat BOM Monitoring, for example, not only notifies customers the moment a PCN is issued, but using 50 billion points of Big Data compiled from thousands of component manufacturers and authorized channel partners, accurately predicts obsolescence and allocation designations weeks or months before they occur. If the window of opportunity to react is increased to the point beyond when the rest of the market is aware of a potential disruption, it allows the OEM to make last time buys, find alternate suppliers, or make any other necessary decisions before any other competing manufacturer. This can save OEMs thousands of dollars in additional costs, as well as maintain their supply chain even as the rest of the industry struggles.

It is time the manufacturing industry is made aware of exactly how BOM monitoring solutions have adapted to meet the needs of today’s market, and know what to look for when choosing such a solution. Does it offer a method of predicting obsolescence and allocation? Does it provide in-depth market analysis including average factory lead times and market pricing? Does it offer industry-leading Big Data in a way that can be analyzed and acted upon? These are just a few of the questions you should ask when choosing a BOM monitoring solution that best fits your needs and is best suited to preserve the integrity of your supply chain for years to come.