Published on June 29th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
How to Avoid Counterfeit Parts in your Electronic Assembly
If you’re manufacturing electronic products, then one of the biggest risks that you potentially face is the use of counterfeit parts. Counterfeit parts are copies, imitations or substitutes of the genuine part. Unfortunately, they often make their way into the assembly lines of businesses, causing upwards of $250 billion every year. Because they are fraudulent parts, they pose a serious safety risk.
The Costs of Using Counterfeit Parts
First of all, the use of a counterfeit part can cause your electronic product to malfunction or to not be able to function as intended. This can greatly hurt your reputation and will most likely result in the need to execute a product recall or replacement program. It can also cause massive downtime on your assembly line as you will have to stop manufacturing of the product to identify the source of the counterfeit part. You’ll then have to invest in a genuine replacement part and begin manufacturing all over again. As you can imagine, this entire process will be very costly.
Unfortunately, that’s not the worst that can happen due to the use of a counterfeit part. An electronic product that malfunctions as a result of a counterfeit part could result in an injury or death. If this happens, you’re likely to face a personal injury lawsuit, something that will not only greatly damage your reputation (often to the point of no return), but that could completely tank smaller to mid-sized businesses.
How Counterfeit Parts Become a Problem
You might be wondering how counterfeit parts can even make it to your electronic assembly. The following are just a few of the ways how a business might get tricked into using counterfeit parts:
- Prioritizing cost savings over obtaining parts from a reliable source.
- A lack of quality assurance requirements or deliberate misrepresentation.
- Poor testing procedures or a lack of inspections to reveal counterfeit parts.
- Poor law enforcement resources that make it difficult to track and capture counterfeiters.
How to Avoid Using Counterfeit Parts
Seeing as how the use of counterfeit parts can cost you a significant amount of money, not to mention irrevocably damage your company’s reputation, it’s important that you take steps to mitigate the risk of manufacturing your products using counterfeit parts. The following are a few steps you should take to help your business avoid the use of counterfeit parts in the electronic assembly of your product:
- Find a trustworthy supplier – First of all, make sure the supplier isn’t providing parts included in the database of suspected counterfeit parts created by GIDEP (Government-Industry Data Exchange Program). Look for full transparency in regards to who the suppliers is getting their parts from and make sure that they follow counterfeit avoidance standards, employ minimum test standards and perform risk mitigation.
- Implement quality control inspection – Make sure that thorough visual inspections are performed of your inventory of parts to help make sure that counterfeit parts haven’t found their way in.
- Strengthen chain of custody process – The better your shipping, handling and storage process is, the less vulnerable you’ll be to counterfeiting.
- Keep up with government warnings and reports – Stay up-to-date on warnings and reports regarding potential counterfeit parts and be sure to collaborate with other businesses within your industry to keep each other informed about counterfeit parts and fraud.
Counterfeit parts can seriously damage your company’s reputation as well as hurt you financially, so make sure you take every available step to mitigate the risk of counterfeiting when it comes to your electronic assembly.