Adding an Independent Distributor to your AVL should be done with extreme caution. Although there are cases of counterfeits being supplied by Authorized Distribution, the risk is much higher from the Independent channel. Here are some guidelines we have used with much success.
- Require certifications. A good mix to assure proper traceability, handling safety, and counterfeit detection skills is; ISO9001, AS9120 Aerospace Distribution, AS6081 Counterfeit Detection, and ANSI/ESD S20-20.2014 to protect parts from ESD damage.
- Perform a reference check with some of their well known customers. Any good supplier will have a few contacts for you to contact and ask a few questions.
- Minimum of a 1 year warranty to assure that once you start using the parts you have return ability if there are problems.
- Membership in a few important trade groups, such as; IDEA, ERAI, and GIDEP. These groups all remove members for poor business conduct.
- Established a minimum of 5 years.
- There are no legitimate reports of counterfeits within the last 5 years, sources (GIDEP, ERAI, IDEA, etc.).
This is not an exhaustive list, but this will narrow down your suppliers to the few that you need. For the most part Independent Distributors are fishing in the same pond. The difference is that if you use a supplier with all of the traits above they will not provide you with parts that are in poor condition or counterfeit. Select just a few good suppliers and ignore the masses of bad ones. They will find you what you need and if they can’s you really don’t want the parts.
Robb Hammond is the President of AERI and the former chair of the Aerospace Industry’s Counterfeit Electronic Components Mitigation Standard for independent distributors, AS6081, which has become one of the industry’s most respected documents, as well as being adopted by the Department of Defense. Robb is one of the foremost thought leaders in the industry on counterfeit detection and speaks regularly at conferences around the globe.