While there are dangers from untrained staff, substandard and counterfeit parts, and supply chain disruptions, arguably the most dangerous land mine is an untrustworthy supplier. An organization depends on its suppliers to deliver products on time, at the right price, and in compliance with its quality standards. Choosing the wrong supplier can lead to shipping delays, product returns and poor quality, all of which result in lost time and profit. An organization’s supplier selection impacts an organization as a whole.
In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Harrison Ford’s character is forced by a Nazi cooperator to find the Holy Grail to save his father from certain death. From a table replete with various different chalices, the evil Nazi incorrectly chooses the most ornate one and subsequently dies. The Crusader knight that has been guarding the Grail admonishes, “he chose poorly”. Indiana Jones picks the simple wooden chalice by intuitively guessing it would be the cup of a carpenter (Jesus) and saves the day. The Crusader knight confirms his choice with, “you have chosen wisely”. Unfortunately, selecting a supplier for your organization is not as cut and dry as in the movies. Recent examples reported by ERAI highlight extra steps that you should take prior to adding a company to your AVL.
With the release of DFARS 252.246.7008, supplier qualification requirements remain front and center in the US Government’s efforts to prevent counterfeit parts from entering the military supply chain. Of importance, not only to government contractors, is the topic of supplier assessment as a key element in every organization’s documented mitigation program/control plan.
What are the dangers lurking behind a well-designed website or a friendly email? Unfortunately we don't always know until a problem causing irreversible damage occurs. In an effort to limit your exposure to potential problems in this ever-changing and somewhat volatile global electronics supply chain, it is imperative that any and all steps possible are taken to verify the legitimacy of the organization you are considering doing business with.