Bolaji: If I were appointed as a Czar to find a solution to the counterfeiting of electronic parts, I would first look at determining which country is producing these counterfeit parts – China, India, other Eastern countries – and then set it up so that their supply of used parts is cut off. If we stop sending scrap material to these countries, they will have fewer parts - reclaimed from discarded circuit boards - from which to make the counterfeit parts. This means that we need to do our own reclamation. We either crush them to destroy them, or first reclaim their metallic content – lead, silver, gold, tin, copper, etc. – and then crush the residual ceramics. Ultimately, we would still need to crush the ceramic residual of the parts and that would probably be a part of the reclamation process anyway, in order to get at the microcircuit metallization metals. This, then, leads us to determine the effects of putting this excess ceramic material into a land fill – its toxicity, if any, etc. Ultimately, we are putting off the disposal of the material to further down the chain, but at a point where the counterfeiters cannot use our waste product any more. While this might lead to a "cottage industry" of scrap reclamation, but, ultimately, the ROI on such an investment will determine if such a process would be viable. Maybe there will end up being a central crushing/disposal facility, but this would, once again, be determined by the ROI of such a facility, and the landfill problem would still exist.
@Bolaji You hit on another key question for many proposals to address problems. Who is to foot the bill? People are often quick to respond "the government," as if it is an entity with unlimited resources when, in reality, the government really means you and me and all the other millions of tax of payers.
The problem businesses and society at large must contend with as counterfeiting proliferates is that deadly danger might have already been done before the culprit is apprehended. We've chatted here about how to detect counterfeits and what kind of punishment to levy on those involved. There's a third layer and that centers on actually catching counterfeiters before their deadly goods are injected into the supply chain. Currently, this is not a part of the battle against counterfeiting. The actual process of producing counterfeits has to be disrupted but that will require pouring investments into locating plants where the counterfeiters operate. Who will finance this? The government, business?
@Bolaji, Happily, I am not in that situation. The key thing is really to prevent counterfeiting through whatever means may work -- short of shooting suspects on the spot and asking questions later, of course. However, in situations in which the counterfeit part is not merely a matter of fraud but a cause to bodily harm, those who legislate the laws may have to take the question of justice into consideratio, as well. Certainly, in American trials, the cost to victims in terms of suffering and loss is used to direct the jury's sympathy to them and away from the one accused.
Ariella, I want to toss the question you asked back at you. What would you look for in this situation: justice or deterrence? If you are at the head of a government body charged with resolving this, what would you do? Would you hammer down on the businesses more or would you focus more on the counterfeiters?
@Bolaji It is a problematic situation. I would imagine that even the stiff penalties can be circumvented by closing the business down, claiming that everything was sold off with nothing remaining, and then opening up under a new identity.
BTW today's news included a warning about counterfeit Adderall, which the FDA says, "should be considered as unsafe, ineffective and potentially harmful."
Ashish, Sorry, I won't let you off that easy. You may be right that there are no easy answers but if you were appointed a Czar by the US government or industry to find a solution to this problem what would you do? You've identified the challenges but what are the solutions?
Ariella, I am for deterrence but of course this comes when justice is seen to be done. The implications of counterfeiting entering the electronic supply chain or other segments of the economy can be devastating to businesses and lives. The US government is trying to assure safety of the military supply chain by prescribing stiff penalties for counterfeiting.
As Ashish mentioned in a separate comment you still have to catch the counterfeiters. Justice is the effective, efficient and judicious execution of laws and regulations and it may deter potential offenders from walking down that road. It shouldn't be seen, however, as vengeance, which in my opinion can lead our society down a morally suspect line.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.