At AERI we see a large discrepancy between different manufacturer’s thresholds for counterfeit detection. Some manufacturers insist on testing, and as long as the price is competitive and fair they will pay whatever the fee is. Others make it seem like there is no room for additional costs so they opt for minimal testing which is free. You might think that the manufacturers opting for free testing are making products where reliability is not as important, but it does not always work out that way.
The first stage of in depth counterfeit testing, as detailed in AS6081, includes decapsulation, X-RAY, XRF, and other tests that are usually free, such as the solvents test, and in depth exterior evaluation. This testing, done properly, costs upwards of $400 per lot. And, there are often more than one lot per order.
We have had many situations where we purchase the last 100 parts on the planet, it is made up of 4 lots, and the original cost of the parts is a total of only $200. If you add on the 4 lots of counterfeit testing, it increases the cost to the manufacturer by $1,600 (800%). In high reliability applications it is worth every penny, but to the buyers and purchasing management it is a hard pill to swallow.
What is your experience with how much your company is willing to pay for counterfeit testing? Does your company require it on every order and work the extreme cost difference into the cost of doing business in the high reliability field? Can you still make a profit with these tests being performed?
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.