Counterfeit parts in supply chain rising

March 17, 2011 at 6:59 AM
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ARLINGTON, Va., March 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Aerospace Industries Association warns that the volume of counterfeit parts in the supply chain is increasing and needs to be thwarted.

"The use of counterfeit parts in the aerospace industry may have life or death consequences," said AIA President and Chief Executive Officer Marion C. Blakey. "Reducing their proliferation and potentially harmful effects requires increased diligence and active control measures from both industry and government."

The AIA -- in a report titled "Counterfeit Parts: Increasing Awareness and Developing Countermeasures" -- said that while the prevalence of counterfeit parts in the supply chain is difficult to quantify, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service in fiscal 2009 seized nearly $4 million in counterfeit critical technology components, including networking equipment and semiconductor devices that the aerospace industry uses.

"Regardless of how counterfeit parts enter the aerospace and defense supply chain, the ramifications can be significant," said Blakey. "They can jeopardize the performance, reliability and safety of our products."

The report has more than 20 recommendations for industry and government that encourage further discussion among stakeholders on how to most effectively reduce counterfeit parts in the supply chain.

Recommendations were prepared by AIA's Counterfeit Parts-Integrated Project Team and include: scrutinizing the purchasing process to limit the use of automated systems, which increases the risk of counterfeit products; developing an approved suppliers list for use by government and industry; conducting training for employees in the areas of procurement, detection, reporting and disposition of counterfeit parts; and creating standards in the area of mechanical parts and materials.

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