Technology life cycles affect a product manager’s ability to sustain systems through their manufacturing and field lives. The lack of availability of critical parts and technologies poses a challenge not only to the acquisition community, but to customers of products that must be maintained for long periods of time. Technology obsolescence has an especially serious impact on systems that have significant electronics content because electronic parts are quickly obsoleted in favor of newer, higher performance components. In this study, market availability data was analyzed for operational amplifiers, a technology integral to most electronic products, and for flash memory devices. Procurement lifetimes are shown to have shrunk since operational amplifiers emerged on the market. Algorithms for forecasting electronic part obsolescence are proposed and the ramifications of electronic part obsolescence on product design planning are discussed.

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