Customer Success Story: Maximizing Speed and Performance with a Locked BOM
For industrial customers, the prospect of frequently recertifying components like embedded memory is simply too disruptive, not to mention costly. An advantage of getting industrial-grade storage from Delkin is that it comes with a locked bill of materials, or BOM. A locked BOM means that no critical components of a memory card, including the flash, firmware, and controller, will be changed without advanced notification and a new product number.
The notification period allows engineers and OEMs to plan for the transition to new memory cards, and to do so without compromising functionality or dealing with high levels of unanticipated failures. The notification period also gives customers time to make any final orders of the retiring product. Not having a locked BOM is risky for industrial customers and can lead to a significant amount of disruption. One new Delkin customer unfortunately discovered this the hard way.
Our New Customer’s Story
This customer approached Delkin with persistent problems with their SD cards, which they were getting from a national SD card supplier. They had gotten the cards from this supplier for a long period of time with any issues, but suddenly they were having an overwhelming number of application failures without a clear understanding of the problem.
These failures were extremely frustrating, and after determining that there was no problem with the device itself, they realized that the issue had to be the SD cards. The customer could not understand why, after using the same SD cards for so long without any problems, they were suddenly not working. They turned immediately to their supplier, and they were surprised to learn that no one would initially provide them with any specific information about their device or the SD cards, despite their long relationship with the company.
Ultimately, they did find someone at the supplier who was able to inform them that the SD card had recently changed. The more surprising news to the customer was the SD card that they were using had been redesigned multiple times over the years without their knowledge. No other change impacted the performance of their device, but for whatever reason, this more recent change did indeed impact the compatibility of the memory card in the application.
From the moment the customer started explaining their story, Delkin’s customer applications team knew exactly what had happened. They told the customer the difference between the SD cards they were using and cards with a locked BOM. Without a locked BOM, the manufacturer can make changes as often as they like, and manufacturers frequently do, with new technology updates and changes in production costs. This approach is not an issue for memory cards made for the consumer and commercial markets. People shopping for those kinds of devices are motivated by cost, so it makes sense to continually focus on lowering the cost of the memory card by changing the components.
However, this is not the case for industrial customers. When it comes to industrial applications, reliability is critical. A locked BOM means that there are no concerns that the next shipment of memory cards will no longer be compatible. With this in mind, the Delkin team borrowed a host device from the customer. Our team then tested different memory cards in the operating conditions in which the devices were typically used in order to figure out the best fit.
After testing, the Delkin team allowed the customer to try out the SD card that they had selected. The customer was extremely pleased with the results and even more relieved to know that they would now be using cards with a locked BOM. They placed a bulk order with Delkin right away.
The customer was also relieved to know that Delkin would be there to assist them through the transition to a new memory card, should it become necessary. Delkin assured the customer that if the current card design was discontinued, they would be notified well in advance. This would allow them the time they would need to place a final order. Our team would also help them select a new card and perform any kind of customized testing that would be necessary to certify the new memory card well before the transition was implemented. That would allow the customers to confidently make the change to a new SD card without worrying about excessive failures later on.
It is common for developers to simply choose the least expensive memory card available for their designs, which almost inevitability will be a commercial-grade card. However, these cards are not designed for use in industrial applications in which failures can be costly and even potentially dangerous. For industrial OEMs, a locked BOM is a critical feature.
At Delkin, our customer applications team is committed to helping you find the right embedded memory solution for your industrial device, regardless of how challenging the operating conditions are. Contact us today for more information.
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