Counterfeit electronic components are a plague on the electronics industry and they are an ongoing problem with no solution. The companies behind counterfeit components are unstoppable because their factories rise faster than they can be shut down. The market is set for them to continue operating forever.
Counterfeit components are problematic because they are more likely to malfunction than genuine components. They can also be dangerous.
Looking at the bigger picture, eliminating counterfeit components from your supply chain is important for social responsibility and corporate governance.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce and eliminate counterfeit components in your supply chain. Here’s where we would start:
Partner with a trusted electronic component distributor
Electronic component distributors like Lantek, verify the legitimacy of electronic components before payment. By using us or another trusted distributor, you can assure the legitimacy of the components in your supply chain.
Another benefit to using Lantek is we can find hard-to-find components in countries where counterfeits are common. Our ability to source genuine parts in haystacks of counterfeits makes us a valuable partner.
Rigorously control purchase sources
If you don’t use an electronic component distributor, you should still rigorously control your purchase sources. Your sources should be vetted, and new sources should be verified, to ensure they are reputable and reliable.
We strongly recommend working with industry leaders where possible. If you have to use smaller suppliers, this is fine so long as you can trust them. Either way, it’s crucial for your sources to have full security over their products.
Conduct your own rigorous quality inspections
One of the mistakes companies make with counterfeit components is assuming that the genuine shipment hasn’t been tampered with. It is common practice for counterfeiters to intercept and replace genuine components with fakes. The main reason they do this is so they can jeopardize the reputation of others.
We recommend conducting your own quality inspections when you receive your products, which may require you to test bulk batches.
Some of the common giveaways of counterfeit components include:
- Color variances
- Misspellings and incorrect labeling
- Mismatched date codes
- Duplicate date codes and labels
- Missing items
- Poor packaging and quality control
- Font variances
- Country of origin problems
- Signs of “resurfacing”
- Failure in tests and performance issues
You can use this list to check your own components.
Source components from ERAI members
ERAI (Electronic Resellers Association International) is the world leader in counterfeit components mitigation. Members of this organization are required to be legitimate with a minimum of 10 trade references and no unresolved complaints.
The ERAI has a database and ERAI supply chain risk mitigation solutions. This means the distributors have specialized training and systems to detect, report, and deal with counterfeit components.
If you are concerned you have counterfeit components in your supply chain, we’re happy to provide advice. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-973-579-8100