Counterfeit parts have real consequences

Counterfeit components pose a growing problem in the electronics supply chain — the same supply chain that brings us everything from our personal phones and tablets, to workplace computers, to crucial military electronic equipment used in combat situations or to fly commercial jets. These fraudulent parts can not only cause significant inconveniences when your equipment fails, but also lead to very costly recalls for companies, and even jeopardize lives. Conservative reports identify well over 100 incidents of counterfeit components per month.

In response to this growing threat, various steps are being taken to combat counterfeit parts. For example, last year the U.S. Government passed theNational Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 818 of this Act requires defense contractors to tighten supply chain traceability and parts procurement to minimize counterfeit risk. The penalties and punishments in NDAA send a clear message of deterrence to encourage tighter quality management processes by engaging and defining “Trusted Suppliers” by their level of testing, sourcing, and quality management procedures for anti-counterfeiting. The crux of this deterrence though rests in how counterfeit parts are defined, and this issue will challenge the technology industry for a while to come.

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