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Strategies to the Prediction, Mitigation and Management of Product Obsolescence by Michael G. Pecht, Peter Sandborn, Ulrich Ermel, Bjoern Bartels

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Chapter 2

Part Change and Discontinuation Management

Change is a natural and inevitable aspect of part manufacturing as companies respond to changing market conditions and technological advancements. The development of new technologies and improved manufacturing processes, constantly changing business forces, and the emergence of new environmental regulations all necessitate changes that a manufacturer may have to make to remain competitive. How a manufacturer manages change can have a large impact on economic success and customer satisfaction. If changes are not implemented in a controlled manner, changes that adversely affect part reliability are more likely to be inadvertently made, damaging a manufacturer’s reputation and increasing liability risks. If changes are made frequently, or if insufficient notice or reason is provided for changes, customers could react negatively. Effective change-notification requires part manufacturers to communicate with their customers frequently and openly, such that a bond of understanding can develop. In addition to the careful crafting of communications and management of business relationships, judgment calls are also often made in change-control. The true effects of changes are often unknown, and the distinction between major and minor changes is often fuzzy, despite the presence of industry standards. Often what is considered a minor change to a majority of customers and in the eyes of an industry standard could be a critical change to ...

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