If components urgently needed for production or maintenance are suddenly no longer available, this can have massive financial consequences, especially for manufacturers of particularly long-lived equipment and systems. In areas such as automotive, aerospace, military, rail, power plant, medical and automation technology, up to 50 percent of the total cost of ownership (TCO) over the entire product lifecycle is already caused by discontinued hardware or software. COG Deutschland e.V. (Component Obsolescence Group) even expects the situation to deteriorate further in the coming years, as Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Heinbach emphasized at the recent Annual General Meeting.
The non-profit industrial organisation founded in 2005 is therefore constantly developing new ideas, measures and methods hand in hand with the experts of its current 149 member companies in various working groups in order to support companies in avoiding or at least reducing any obsolescence problems. »Over the past 14 years, our association have created many new tools that make obsolescence management much easier for our members,« Heinbach confirmed. But in view of ever shorter innovation cycles and new technology trends such as IoT, the association is also confronted with ever new challenges, which can often only be met with great effort and over a long period of time.
Five new board members
In order to be able to meet these challenges in the future, the Management Board of COG Deutschland was expanded to eight persons at the Annual General Meeting. The following were confirmed in their position
- Chairman of the Board Dr. Wolfgang Heinbach (Managing Director GMP German Machine Parts),
- Deputy Axel Wagner (Head of Department Compliance Würth Elektronik EiSos) and
- Treasurer Anke Bartel (Product Marketing Velocity Electronics).
- Irina Werle (Obsolescence Management BMK Group),
- Frank Mützner (Long Term Availability Manager Osram Continental),
- Ulrich Vogel (Geschäftsführer Electronic Direct),
- Joachim Tosberg (Life Cycle Management RAFI) und
- Stefanie Kölbl (Head of Obsolescence Management TQ-Systems).
All five have many years of practical experience in obsolescence management. The previous treasurer Matthias Kohls (Bombardier) and Stefanie Laufenberg-van Rickelen (Managing Director van Rickelen) were no longer eligible for re-election.
In the coming years, the Executive Board sees a particular focus on expanding cooperation with other institutions and associations, both at national and international level. »The most effective preventive protection against obsolescence is a comprehensive explanation of all associated risks and the identification of conceivable proactive and reactive countermeasures. We have therefore set ourselves the goal of making associations, companies and institutions even more aware of this highly controversial issue in the future.«
Just how well this can work in practice is shown by the positive example of VDMA Standard Sheet 24903, which was drawn up with the participation of COG members and describes, among other things, the minimum requirements for the information content of change and discontinuation notifications and for the system interfaces required for IT-supported data exchange. International cooperation projects with organisations such as the International Institute of Obsolescence Management (IIOM International) are also conceivable. »Since more and more German companies are active worldwide, it is only logical that the association should continue to promote the simplification and standardization of obsolescence management processes internationally. Our membership in the IIOM, which will soon be fully entitled to vote, will open up new opportunities for COG Germany in the future«, Heinbach is pleased to report.
COG Deutschland e.V. offers companies affected by the obsolescence problem the opportunity to exchange information on procedures and solutions on an informal basis and to jointly promote the development of efficient obsolescence strategies. In addition to quarterly meetings with specialist presentations, reports from working groups and discussion groups, a large number of other platforms are available for the direct and indirect exchange of information on all aspects of obsolescence avoidance and management. Detailed information on COG Deutschland e.V. can be found on the association's homepage at www.cog-d.de.