Comparing Lifecycle Sustainment Strategies in an Electronic Component Obsolescence Environment

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Comparing Lifecycle Sustainment Strategies in an Electronic Component Obsolescence Environment

Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics

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Rapid advancements in technology and the diminishing lifecycle of electronic systems have complicated the sourcing and sustainment activities of many organizations as suppliers of original components go out of business or refuse to produce obsolete products. This article explores diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages as well as the obsolescence costs and reliability issues associated with electronic components. Using the current United States Air Force situation as an example, the overall research question asks how obsolescence management can be improved through various sourcing strategies. This article utilizes a simulation model to evaluate equipment demand requirements and sustainment costs for three different approaches: (1) a re-engineering strategy, (2) a lifetime buy strategy, and (3) a programmed redesign strategy. Statistical analysis and long-term forecasted cost comparisons of these three strategies provide a framework to help acquisition, and sustainment managers determine the approach with the lowest total cost of ownership.


Dr. Kenneth D. Underwood is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and is currently stationed at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. His doctorate in History is from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has a MS degree in Logistics from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a MS degree in History and Political Science from Texas A&M University. His undergraduate degree is in International Relations from the University of Southern California. Dr. Underwood has been deployed overseas several times into various operational and logistics leadership roles and has also served as an Assistant Professor at the United States Air Force Academy.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Ogden is currently an Associate Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management within the Department of Operational Sciences at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). Prior to accepting a position at AFIT, Dr. Ogden earned his MBA and Ph.D. in Supply Chain Management from Arizona State University and taught in the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. His undergraduate degree is in Accounting from Weber State University. He is the co-author of a Supply Chain Management textbook. His award-winning purchasing research has been published in many academic journals.

Matthew T. McConville is a Logistics Ph.D. Candidate at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio pursuing advanced studies in Supply Chain Management and Systems Engineering. Prior to AFIT, Mr. McConville held a number of positions in private industry as a consultant and manufacturing manager. He holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, a MS in Logistics & Supply Chain Management from Wright State University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Northern University.