Your Fight Against Counterfeit Components – The 3 T’s

Quality inspection of surface mount populated PCB

The idea that counterfeit components may end up in your supply chain is a nightmare scenario, never a good moment for both initial supplier, manufacturer or end client. A single counterfeit part can have a devastating impact. Causing unreliable performance of product, delays in your supply chain and ultimately unhappy end users.

When producing products for the medical and defence industries, this could prove fatal if it occurred. Even the US department of defence admitted that up to 15% of their parts purchased ended up being counterfeit.

With current supply chain shortages squeezing demand to breaking point on certain components, it is important to remain vigilant against the risk of counterfeit parts as they flood the market.


How do 4E advise you manage the risk of counterfeit components?

Lets discuss some of the ways 4E mitigates the risk of counterfeit components. Quite simply noted as the 3 T’s.


Traceability Throughout the Supply Chain

Operations at 4E are conducted within the ISO 13485 stringent quality framework. Whilst specifically for medical markets, we conduct this across all industries we cater for. Strict procedures are followed. Maintain full traceability for everything that comes into our factory.

Traceability is crucial in manufacturing, from components to operators and processes. It helps prevent issues with counterfeit parts by keeping track of their origin and batch, allowing for immediate action if needed.


Trusted Supplier Networks

Excellent supplier relationships are key to a strong supply chain and 4E has developed relationships with many trusted franchised suppliers. It’s through working with key suppliers that you can mitigate a portion of the risk associated with counterfeit parts, both keeping close eyes on the supply chain of incoming components.

Utilising franchised distributors helps mitigate the risk of grey market product finding its way into your supply chain. If there is any doubt as to the origin of stock, we work closely with our suppliers to validate stock. Suppliers can perform full inspection and test on components which may have dubious origination. You will also have a stronger chance of seeing through quality claims when purchasing from a franchised distributor.


Testing and Inspection Against Counterfeit Components

Incoming parts undergo testing and inspection upon arrival. This is your first set of eyes on incoming components to your supply chain. It’s important to check that packaging and markings look authentic and genuine. Look out for blurred printing, branding which isn’t quite right or any other small details. Many suppliers use distinctive markings specific to their own brand, serial numbers, holographic labelling etc. These are all important markers to look out for when inspecting.

During the manufacturing process, we test products and sub-assemblies to check for any counterfeit parts. If counterfeit components are found, they are removed, traced back to their source, and steps are taken to prevent further instances.


The methods listed above go a long way to mitigate counterfeit components causing problems with manufacturing.

At 4e, we focus on manufacturing complex products. We meticulously monitor parts that may encounter supply chain problems and manage their sourcing accordingly. Additionally, we thoroughly inspect incoming parts to ensure their quality and minimize the risk of complications.

4e’s client base includes parties within the defence and military industries. Within these market sectors obsolescence is a high concern through the products life-cycle. We understand the implications part changes can cause to a design, especially in these markets. Part changes can result in the need for approval and lengthy testing which can prove exceptionally costly to clients. It is often more prudent to employ effective obsolescence management strategies throughout the products lifecycle. This vast historical experience has positioned 4E to both manage counterfeit parts and obsolescence issues reliably. Successfully working through supply chain shortages within the industry, meanwhile still delivering high quality products reliably to clients delivery schedules.


If you are considering Electronics Manufacturing or Assembly for your products and would like to talk through options with 4e Technology call us today at 01794 874227 or drop us an email enquiry.

To find out more about the services 4e Technology offer check out our website here.

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