As the close of summer approaches and the kids start heading back to school, lots of families are starting to look ahead towards the holidays in the late fall and early winter. Whether it is a warm relaxing vacation in Mexico or an energetic skiing trip to Colorado, we are planning on safe, fun times with our families.
As great as these vacations sound, there is always the risk associated with flying. When my 5-year-old son asked me, “Dad, how does the pilot know where to go”, it reminded me that it is imperative for the commercial aircrafts to be safe and well-equipped; therefore, the pilot can ensure the safety of our loved ones to arrive safely.
In the news today, headlines are all about counterfeit avoidance (www.counterfeitavoidance.org), detection, and mitigation against electronic components into our Defense & Aerospace industries. However, the next time my family takes off from Philadelphia International Airport, I can assure you I will be thinking about whether the purchasing agent from the maintenance repair shop knew the difference between procuring from someone who had the parts in stock, or procuring the parts from someone authorized by contract to represent the mfg and has all the paperwork to document that purchased item.
I know this because as the CEO of Secure Components, I see first-hand the bogus, fake, remarked parts that are caught and sequestered within our inspection system. When a customer requires a part that is obsolete, or the part is not available through an “authorized” vendor, then further investigation into the batch of material must occur. A risk assessment per the new AS6081 standard must be transparent to the end user. As budgets are continued to be cut, more and more obsolete components will be needed to sustain these legacy programs and aircrafts. Once a company such as Secure Components procures a part that the “Chain of Custody,” with regard to the traceability of paperwork back to the Original Component Manufacturer, has been broken, a new set of inspection procedures MUST exist.
Now more than ever, it’s imperative to “Get To Know Your Customer!” If your customer manufacturers coffee pots, for example, it would not be appropriate to run $10,000 in-depth analysis. Conversely, if your customer is maintaining life-critical equipment for a soldier in battle, or if the component was to be installed into an ice detection module onto an aircraft, then of course a $10,000 test is appropriate.
It used to be that “trusting” your source was good enough. Now, trusting your source means to produce test paperwork that can back up your sources claims that the parts are authentic, and will fit, form, and function.