Four types of obsolescence
- Technical obsolescence. This occurs when a piece of equipment can no longer be serviced or repaired due to changes in technology.
- Functional obsolescence. An asset is functionally obsolete when parts are no longer available and the manufacturer no longer supports it.
- Compatibility obsolescence. In some instances, a piece of equipment still functions correctly, but it can no longer be integrated with other, more advanced devices or systems.
- Regulatory obsolescence. Changes to regulations on equipment safety, energy efficiency, etc., can result in equipment being deemed obsolete.
Three stages of obsolescence
- Notification of pending obsolescence. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) gives advance notice to equipment owners that they will no longer manufacture a device as of a specified date.
- Notification that parts will no longer be available. Even after an OEM no longer produces a device, you can still typically get replacement parts for it for several years. Manufacturers announce the date after which they’ll no longer provide parts.
- Notification of equipment “sunsetting.” In most cases, OEMs will specify a “drop dead” date, after which they will no longer provide support or assistance of any kind with old equipment.
You can protect your organization from the operational and financial consequences of obsolescence by developing a plan for managing it.
Next: In Part 3 of our series, we’ll talk about the six steps every hospital, surgery center or clinic should take to avoid being bitten by the obsolescence bug.