Think about the last time you worked on a DIY project or a product requiring assembly. Did you have the instructions to make it? Were you missing something on the supplies list, forcing you to improvise? Did everything come out as you expected? If you answered “yes” to those 3 questions then you found a proper replacement.
This same concept should be applied to your product designs down to the last part, so you can avoid unplanned redesigns. Choosing multi-sourced parts allows you to be prepared for the unexpected events, so you can easily find an acceptable replacement or alternate part.
4 reasons you want a multi-sourced part:
1. Unexpected Lifecycle Changes
You are asked to build a product that is sustainable for at least the next 10 years. A few years into your product, one of the components may go from active to Not Recommended for New Design, or NRND to obsolete. Secure your product’s 10 year lifecycle, choose a part with extra options to ensure its longevity.
2. Unforeseen Circumstances
Sometimes things happen that you cannot plan for – like natural disasters. In 2011, the Thailand flood damaged 57 manufacturing facilities. When you choose parts manufactured in different regions, you can avoid market shortages & last time buys, lower supply chain costs and stay within budget.
3. Market Shortages
Market shortages occur from more than natural disasters. It can happen when the part’s lifecycle changes, resulting in high demand for a part. When everyone is looking for the same parts from their distributors, having alternative options gives you the stability you need. Don’t compromise your product’s quality because you have no alternatives available.
4. Approved Vendor Options
In 2014, there were 330 supplier mergers & acquisitions. Was one of your suppliers on that list? Most companies have a list of trusted suppliers, which comprise their approved vendor list (or AVL). When you know an acquisition occurs, you can expand your approved supplier list and your access to additional alternative parts for your designs.
Think back to your DIY project. You know you found the right replacement when the difference between original and your improvised version is slim or unnoticeable. Did you find the right replacement for your project? Having a library of replacements and alternative options is critical for those fire drill events so the different components in your products are unnoticeable by its users.
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