The Best Obsolescence Management Strategy Still Comes Down to People

Much has been said in the news recently regarding supply chain automation finally reaching the potential analysts predicted decades ago, which has prompted intense discussions regarding obvious production benefits against the threat they pose to long-established factory positions.

By 2030, some experts estimate that over 70 million of these jobs could be in jeopardy — and while the vast majority of these positions are fairly monotonous in nature and require little formal education beyond hands-on experience, it nevertheless represents how a significant portion of the global population provides for their families. Thinking about such a significant workforce being completely displaced by products they can never hope to compete with pound-for-pound is enough to shake even the most hardened industry observer to their core.

Such thinking also poses the pressing question of what role the human being will play in the supply chain moving forward. John Henry may have beaten a machine at its own game with nothing more than a hammer and sweat, but machines have upped their game. If professionals cannot compete in terms of scale and production, they will have to compete in other ways that robots and artificial intelligence cannot. What separates man from machine? Of course, it’s the power of the human mind, where experience, intuition and hard-earned social relationships converge to create an invaluable tool that operates beyond a plane of mere numbers and algorithms. AI technologies may be evolving at a rapid pace, but as of today, where they fall short is in these precious intangibles.

That’s why for all of the Big Data-driven technologies EDX offers customers as part of our BOM Monitoring Solution and Excess Inventory Solution, we have never strayed from the human element that has been our defining characteristic since 1991.

No matter how you choose to incorporate EDX’s solutions into your obsolescence management strategy, the impact of your assigned supply chain strategist is easy to see. Once a bill of material is uploaded to our platform, for example, we immediately assign it to a supply chain strategist with years of experience in your specific industry. This individual will be ready at a moment’s notice to resolve any potential conflicts that are inherent on every bill of material, such as conflicting component designations from separate authorized distributors. Our open-source Big Data platform, Partstat, has the ability to monitor obsolescence and predict allocation, but it still takes an experienced human mind to definitively confirm the life cycle statuses of the critical components necessary to complete your product. In a supply chain marketplace that has no shortage of BOM monitoring services that can price and monitor critical components, our ability to offer a human element that can dig deeper and give customers the complete story is what makes us a supply chain leader.

At the end of your product’s life cycle, human connection is just as important in determining an optimal strategy for excess inventory. In our free Excess Inventory Analysis, your assigned supply chain strategist will present a thorough line-item analysis of every individual part on your bill of material including information such as current life cycle status, current global availability, average distributor price, and average factory lead times. Each of these factors plays an invaluable role in determining market demand, as well as the optimal price point at the point of sale.

When conversing with potential customers, companies always make it a priority to highlight the aspects of their business that make them unique, what you’re missing out on if you choose to look elsewhere. At EDX, we certainly have the capability to highlight our technology with 9 billion-plus rows of current and historical Big Data behind it — and we do — but we still like to emphasize that EDX stands for something more than just technology. It stands for intelligence. It stands for experience. It stands for intuition. And it stands for somebody that will work every day to earn their place in your supply chain. Those are qualities no amount of technology will ever replace.

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