如何将假冒组件的风险降至最低

电子供应链面临着几个重大挑战。其中最紧迫的问题之一是假冒电子元件的泛滥。

电子产品是一个庞大且有利可图的行业,因此它自然成为试图利用这一潜力的欺诈者的目标。随着需求的增长和全球供应链变得越来越难以管理,向毫无戒心的制造商出售假冒零件变得更加容易。

随着需求的增长和全球供应链变得越来越难以管理,向毫无戒心的制造商出售假冒零件变得更加容易。

到目前为止,还没有单一的“灵丹妙药”可以消除购买假冒产品的风险。风险缓解策略的范围从供应商选择和目视检查到区块链等高科技解决方案。

假冒电子元件的成本

假冒组件是一个比最初看起来更常见的问题。国际电子经销商协会 (ERAI) 报告称, 2022 年有768 件假冒和不合格部件。这比 2021 年增加了 35%,尽管总体半导体销售额保持不变。这些只是向 ERAI 报告的实例。政府-行业数据交换计划(GIDEP) 还收集有关可疑或不合格电子产品的信息。

欺诈性零件也会带来高昂的成本。它们通常会影响整体设备性能,导致召回、销售损失和消费者信心下降。制造商还可能因销售含有假冒成分的产品而面临巨额法律罚款。

美国商会估计,这些成本在所有国家和行业每年总计达 5000 亿美元。随着电子行业的发展,假冒产品造成的损失也会增加。鉴于这些风险,该行业的制造商应尽其所能将假冒产品拒之门外。这里有五种方法。

最大化供应链可见性

解决假冒电子元件问题的第一步是提高供应链的透明度。假冒产品如此普遍的原因之一是许多制造商对其上游供应链合作伙伴缺乏了解。如今,令人震惊的45% 的组织只能看到他们的一级供应商,或者完全需要更多的上游可见性。

当制造商确切知道每个零件的来源时,他们可以实施更有效的控制。首先是增加供应链合作伙伴之间的数据共享实践。物联网跟踪解决方案和云仪表板可以实现组织获得其供应链完整视图所需的可见性和数据整合级别。

重新考虑您的供应商选项

一旦电子制造商对其供应商有了更多的了解,他们可能需要重新考虑他们。电子元件有四种一般采购选项:

  • 原厂
  • 经销商
  • 分销商
  • 目录供应商

许多制造商与分销商合作,因为他们提供多种销售渠道,并且通常以实惠的价格提供大量可用产品。在芯片短缺的情况下,许多人还求助于经纪人,他们从其他组织购买多余的股票进行转售。但是,这些选项可能会因缺乏可见性而引入假冒风险。

如果可能,最好从原始零件制造商处采购,因为它可以简化供应链并提供对组件来源的信心。授权经销商也被认为是安全的,因为他们直接从零部件制造商的工厂采购并接受供应商的审核。

检查组件装运

接下来,制造商应监控其发货中的假冒电子元件。即使企业信任他们的供应商,假冒产品也是一个普遍而严重的问题,因此他们不应冒任何风险。

照片来源:米卡鲍迈斯特

首先目视检查组件,以确保它们的外观之间没有任何明显的物理差异。检查标签也很重要,因为任何拼写错误、不正确的公司名称或不寻常的日期代码都是危险信号。

有些假冒品太过逼真,无法用肉眼观察,因此可能需要对高度敏感的组件进行测试。厚度检查、X 射线、冶金分析和类似步骤都可以发现假冒产品,但制造商可能需要求助于第三方专业人员来获得这些服务。

使用区块链跟踪解决方案

区块链技术最近成为打击假冒电子元件的另一种有前途的方法。区块链使用分散的分布式设备网络来托管加密记录的分类帐。对于电子制造商而言,重要的是,这些记录对所有用户都是透明的,但几乎不可能更改。

制造商可以使用区块链跟踪解决方案,在从原始生产到最终目的地的每次扫描中在链中创建一个新块。这样,他们就可以准确地验证零件的来源以及它们到达供应链中每个点的时间。大型零售商和制药公司已经开始使用区块链供应链跟踪,电子制造商也应该效仿。

尽可能转移风险

电子产品生产商还可以通过转移风险将假冒成本降至最低。让供应商遵守更高标准和使用区块链跟踪等预防措施更为重要,但有些事情可能仍会漏掉。将责任从制造商身上转移出去的法律文件可以帮助减轻这些事件的影响。

综合保险政策可以抵消一些风险。与供应商和下游供应链合作伙伴的合同还应包括在出现假冒组件时使制造商免受损害的语言。与任何法律事务一样,公司必须与法律顾问会面,以了解他们在此战略中的权利和选择。

造假需要勤奋

随着各行各业数字化进程的加快,假冒电子元件将成为一个日益严重的问题。供应链的复杂性可能使解决它们变得困难,但制造商可以通过遵循这些步骤将它们排除在供应链之外。还有许多来自标准组织和电子协会的指南提供了防伪模板。

假冒部件对整个供应链具有深远的影响。该行业必须进行调整以将它们拒之门外,并减轻漏网之鱼的影响,以确保企业及其客户的安全。

原文

How to Minimize the Risk of Counterfeit Components

The electronics supply chain faces several significant challenges. One of the most pressing of these is the prominence of counterfeit electronic components.

Electronics is a massive and profitable industry, so it is a natural target for fraudsters trying to capitalize on that potential. As demands have grown and global supply chains have become increasingly difficult to manage, selling counterfeit parts to unsuspecting manufacturers has become easier.

As demands have grown and global supply chains have become increasingly difficult to manage, selling counterfeit parts to unsuspecting manufacturers has become easier.

So far, there’s no single “silver bullet” that can eliminate the risk of procuring a counterfeit. Risk mitigation strategies range from vendor selection and visual inspection to high-tech solutions such as blockchain.

The cost of counterfeit electronic components

Counterfeit components are a more common issue than they may seem initially. The Electronic Resellers Association International (ERAI) reported 768 counterfeit and nonconforming parts in 2022. That represents a 35 percent increase over 2021 despite overall semiconductor sales remaining the same. And those are only the instances reported to ERAI. The Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP) also collects information about suspicious or non-conforming electronics.

Fraudulent parts carry high costs, too. They often impact overall device performance, leading to recalls, lost sales and declining consumer confidence. Manufacturers may also face hefty legal fines for selling products containing counterfeit components.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates these costs add up to $500 billion a year across all countries and industries. As the electronics industry grows, so will the losses from counterfeits. In light of these risks, manufacturers in the sector should do all they can to keep counterfeits out of their supply chains. Here are five ways how.

Maximize supply chain visibility

The first step to addressing counterfeit electronic components is to make supply chains more transparent. One of the reasons counterfeits are so prevalent is that many manufacturers lack visibility into their upstream supply chain partners. A shocking 45 percent of organizations today can only see as far as their first-tier suppliers or need more upstream visibility entirely.

Manufacturers can implement more effective controls when they know exactly where every part comes from. That begins with increasing data-sharing practices between supply chain partners. Internet of Things tracking solutions and cloud dashboards can enable the level of visibility and data consolidation organizations need to gain a complete view of their supply chains.

Reconsider your supplier options

Once electronics manufacturers have more visibility into their suppliers, they may need to reconsider them. There are four general sourcing options for electronic components:

  • Original manufacturers
  • Distributors
  • Brokers
  • Catalog suppliers

Many manufacturers work with distributors, as they offer multiple selling channels and often have large available quantities for affordable prices. Amid chip shortages, many have also turned to brokers, who buy excess stock from other organizations to resell. However, these options can introduce counterfeit risks from their lack of visibility.

When possible, it is best to source from an original part manufacturer, as it simplifies the supply chain and offers confidence in a component’s origin. Authorized distributors are also considered safe as they procure directly from component makers’ factories and are audited by their suppliers.

Inspect component shipments

Next, manufacturers should monitor for counterfeit electronic components in their shipments. Even if businesses trust their suppliers, counterfeits are a widespread and severe issue, so they should not take any risks.

Inspection of shipments is one way to minimize the risk of counterfeit electronics

Photo credit: Mika Baumeister

Start by visually inspecting components to ensure there are not any obvious physical differences between what they should look like. Checking the label is also essential, as any spelling errors, incorrect company names or unusual date codes are red flags.

Some counterfeits are too convincing to see with the naked eye, so testing may be necessary for highly sensitive components. Thickness checks, x-rays, metallurgy analysis and similar steps can all reveal counterfeits, though manufacturers may need to turn to third-party professionals for these services.

Use blockchain tracking solutions

Blockchain technology has recently emerged as another promising way to fight counterfeit electronic components. A blockchain uses a decentralized, distributed network of devices to host a ledger of encrypted records. Importantly for electronics manufacturers, these records are transparent to all users but virtually impossible to alter.

Manufacturers can use a blockchain tracking solution that creates a new block in the chain at each scan from the original production to its final destination. That way, they can verify precisely where parts came from and when they arrived at each point in the supply chain. Large retailers and pharmaceutical companies have already begun using blockchain supply chain tracking, and electronics manufacturers should follow suit.

Transfer risks where possible

Electronics producers can also minimize the costs of counterfeits by transferring risk. Preventive steps like holding suppliers to higher standards and using blockchain tracking are more important, but some things may still slip through the cracks. Legal documentation that shifts responsibility away from the manufacturer can help lessen the impact of those occurrences.

Comprehensive insurance policies can offset some risk. Contracts with suppliers and downstream supply chain partners should also include language that holds the manufacturer harmless should a counterfeit component emerge. As with any legal matter, companies must meet with legal counsel to know their rights and options within this strategy.

Counterfeits require diligence

As digitization ramps up across industries, counterfeit electronic components will become an increasingly serious issue. Supply chain complications may make tackling them difficult, but manufacturers can keep them out of their supply chains by following these steps. There are also numerous guidelines from standards organizations and electronics associations that provide templates for counterfeit prevention.

Counterfeit components have far-reaching effects across the supply chain. The industry must adapt to keep them out and mitigate the impact of what slips through to keep businesses and their customers safe.

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