Over the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on how companies can protect themselves against counterfeiting. Many companies aren’t directly harmed by counterfeiting—it’s not their brand that’s getting ripped off—but end up with bogus goods that become part of their subassembly. That subassembly eventually goes to the end customer. The more complex your supply chain is, the more likely it is that you’ll acquire something that’s not quite right.
That said, here a couple of anecdotes I’ve picked up that are actually pretty funny. These are also examples of diligent buyers that spotted fakes before they got deeper into the supply chain.
· One manufacturer that procured a large number of electronic components visually inspected the box that the parts came in and markings on the parts themselves. In both cases, the word “Malaysia” was spelled wrong.
· A component manufacturer ended its production of a high-value part and announced to its customers that the last run of the device would be in the range of 200 pieces. Within weeks, brokers had posted more than 2,000 of these devices up for sale on the Internet.
There are a couple of ways you can deal with an end-of-life (EOL) product announcement. First, contact your supplier and see if they manufacture a newer, comparable part. Work with your supplier to transition to the newer part.
Ask your supplier if they offered an EOL buy. Authorized distributors often buy up EOL parts and hold them for customers that use them.
Find out if your supplier has authorized someone to produce EOL parts. In the electronics industry, chip makers such as Intel, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices and AMD sell masks and die (the stuff you need to make a semiconductor) to companies such as Rochester Electronics. Rochester will then manufacture EOL parts at a customer’s request.
If you’ve run across counterfeiting in your line of work, let us know. Sharing this information could prevent fakes from entering the supply chain and possibly, your end product.