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Aerospace industry concerned about counterfeit parts

AIA issues report on counterfeit parts and threat to the supply chain


March 18, 2011
by Purchasingb2b Staff

ARLINGTON, VA: The volume of counterfeit parts in the supply chain is increasing, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

“The use of counterfeit parts in the aerospace industry may have life or death consequences,” said Aerospace Industry Asociation (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey. “Reducing their proliferation and potentially harmful effects requires increased diligence and active control measures from both industry and government.”

While the prevalence of counterfeit parts in the supply chain is difficult to quantify, in fiscal 2009, the US Customs and Border Protection Service seized nearly US$4 million in counterfeit critical technology components, including networking equipment and semiconductor devices that the aerospace industry uses.

A new report by the AIA “Counterfeit Parts: Increasing Awareness and Developing Countermeasures”, seeks to raise awareness of the issues associated with counterfeit parts.

“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.”

While profit is the primary incentive for counterfeiting, the long lifecycle of aerospace products also contributes to conditions that make aerospace and defense equipment susceptible to counterfeiting. Aircraft developed in the 1950s, such as the B-52, are still in active inventory while parts from original equipment, component manufacturers or authorized aftermarket manufacturers or distributors may no longer be available.

The report makes 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. The recommendations were prepared by AIA’s Counterfeit Parts-Integrated Project Team and include:

* Scrutinize the purchasing process to limit the use of automated systems, which increases the risk of counterfeit products.
* Develop an Approved Suppliers list for use by government and industry.
* Conduct training for employees in the areas of procurement, detection, reporting and disposition of counterfeit parts.
* Create standards in the area of mechanical parts and materials.

“Our industry makes the best aerospace products available and has an unsurpassed safety record,” said Blakey. ”We feel the recommendations will allow industry and government to address the issue before it threatens that record.”

The report is available on AIA’s website at: http://www.aia-aerospace.org/economics/reports_white_papers/?/issues_policies/reports_white_papers/