Alstom takes on obsolescence risks

June 16, 2014 | 00:00
The lifecycle for rolling stock could easily be 35 years, whereas the lifecycle for electronic components probably won’t surpass five years.
The lifecycle for rolling stock could easily be 35 years, whereas the lifecycle for electronic components probably won’t surpass five years.
IIOM member Alstom Transport, known for its rolling stock and other rail infrastructure, has set up an obsolescence management service in order to deal with the disparity between the lifecycle of rolling stock and the lifecycle of electronic components. The lifecycle for rolling stock could easily be 35 years, whereas the lifecycle for electronic components probably won’t surpass five years.

Alstom has its own obsolescence department, monitoring more than 75,000 components. This way, Alstom will encounter as few surprises as possible when a certain component would become obsolete. Measures to replace an obsolete component will already be in place well before a specific problem arises, due to what Stuart Broadbent, the obsolescence director of Alstom Transport, calls “proactive obsolescence management”.

The obsolescence management service of Alstom proved so successful that the transport company has based a business model on it. For example, Alstom can help customers monitoring components for both Alstom and non-Alstom products. Alstom can also give advice on all kinds of obsolescence issues, such as counterfeit.

Alstom works in close cooperation with the IIOM, the International Institute of Obsolescence Management. Being an IIOM member, Alstom is constantly sharing information with other IIOM members. According to Alstom’s obsolescence director Broadbent, not only is IIOM’s network extremely valuable, the information being presented by the IIOM itself is also of extreme importance. For example, the IIOM publishes on a regular basis on the subject of counterfeit avoidance.

Counterfeit is indeed a real problem that should be dealt with with the utmost priority, according to both Alstom and the IIOM. IIOM’s recently published book ‘The Counterfeit Electronic Components Minefield’ gives readers a telling reminder: from 2009 to 2012, the reported incidents of counterfeit electronic devices quadrupled.
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