The counterfeit electronic component issue is serious. Most don't want to admit it, but the facts have been accumulating for years. In 2011, there were nearly 1,400 reported instances of counterfeit parts. This does not include unreported cases.
The issue can't be “swept under the rug” anymore. Finally, enforcement agencies are getting tough: There have recently been seizures by the US Customs Patrol and several arrests and convictions stemming from counterfeit activity.
Back in 2005, when Rochester Electronics was planning its first-ever anti-counterfeiting symposium, there was little attention given to the seriousness of the problem. Slowly, the industry became aware that lives are at risk and that national security is being threatened. As a result, identifying and combatting the problem became a priority.
But nobody is entirely immune. In 2009, a Department of Commerce study found that counterfeits can be found anywhere in the channel, EBN contributor Tam Harbert writes. (See: Distributors & the Mystery of Counterfeit Parts.)
It probably surprises no one that 50 percent of the OCMs that have gotten a counterfeit part reported getting one from a broker, and that 45 percent reported getting one from an independent distributor. But the chart also shows that 21 percent of OCMs reported a counterfeit incident involving an authorized distributor. That has raised many an eyebrow.
Counterfeiting activity represents upward of $300 billion in revenue worldwide. Because of this, it's not going away any time soon. How can the electronics industry tackle its share of such a massive problem?
Anti-counterfeiting measures rely on all parts of the supply chain pulling together. Buyers can't take shortcuts and make excuses. Suppliers can't ignore the problem. And OEMs have to be aware that faulty parts can and will be built into their systems. A little effort by all members of the supply chain can ensure that even hard-to-find items are authentic.
Join us September 12 at 2:00 p.m. EST as we host this interactive Webinar, The Holistic Approach to Anti-Counterfeiting, with EBN and we'll tell you more about some compelling research related to counterfeit components in the supply chain.