Market Intelligence
May 14, 2024

Working With an Independent Distributor That Puts Quality First image

Electronics buyers understand the risks associated with counterfeit and low-quality components, but staying vigilant across every single RFP or bid isn’t always easy. Counterfeit electronics leave the end user with poor performance, overheating, malfunctions, fires, and other risks. There are also incompatibility issues, integrations, and safety concerns to deal with. 

With ERAI, Inc., publishing 786 counterfeit and non-conforming parts reports in 2023—up from 295 reports in 2011—procurement departments must pay closer attention to the proliferation of counterfeit electronics components in the supply chain. By establishing robust supplier qualification processes and only working with independent distributors that take quality assurance very seriously, procurement departments can protect their brands, ensure their own companies’ product integrity, and keep their customers safe. 


Peace of Mind Procurement 

Beyond price and availability, quality assurance should be a top priority for any procurement team handling electronic components. The impact of one faulty component can ripple through an entire organization, but an independent distributor’s rigorous quality assurance process can stop these types of problems in their tracks—before they impact your company, its customers, and its reputation in the marketplace. Robust quality assurance also leads to long-term savings in an industry where much emphasis is placed on getting the lowest price and the fastest possible delivery times. By refocusing on quality, organizations can avoid the high cost of faulty parts, reengineering, production troubleshooting, and managing those dreaded (and expensive) product recalls. Defective products or work costs an average of $12 million each, and these unplanned expenses will add up quickly for companies that don’t enforce quality.  To give procurement departments peace of mind, Fusion Worldwide is continually investing in our quality programs and developing new solutions that procurement teams can use to ensure high levels of product quality and avoid counterfeit components. For example, we are ISO 9001 certified, which ensures product and service quality while also fostering trust among the different stakeholders in the supply chain.  

Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 9001 certification outlines the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving a Quality Management System (QMS). This certification encompasses various aspects of business operations, including process management, risk mitigation, customer focus, and continuous improvement. “Implementing ISO 9001 means your organization has put in place effective processes and trained staff to deliver flawless products or services time after time,” ISO states. In addition to the ISO 9001 certification, Fusion Worldwide maintains multiple cross-industry accreditations, upholding our commitment to quality and unparalleled service. Fusion Worldwide is also AS9120 (a quality management system for aerospace parts and materials) and AS6081 (for combatting counterfeit electronic parts in the aerospace and defense sectors) certified. These are just some of the ways Fusion Worldwide is continually working to set the standard for quality in an industry where counterfeiters and other bad actors are getting savvier and more sophisticated every day.  


Bringing Testing In-House  

This fierce commitment to quality helps procurement professionals sleep at night, knowing that the electronic components that they’re buying adhere to the highest possible standards and that they’ll perform as expected. Fusion Worldwide's quality control inspection team customizes testing solutions to match specific components, quantities, and customer needs, and validates the structural integrity of electronic components under five levels of magnification, including up to 30,000x. Fusion Worldwide’s subsidiary, Prosemi, is an ISO/IEC 17025 AS6171 accredited laboratory. With Prosemi, we can keep these processes in-house and effectively address our customers’ needs while eliminating the stress of coordinating with multiple vendors. ISO/IEC 17025:2017 is a globally recognized accreditation developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It provides a framework for laboratories to demonstrate their competence in generating accurate and reliable test results. Additionally,  AS6171 is focused on detecting counterfeit parts in the aerospace and defense industries. Developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the accreditation standardizes inspection and test procedures, workmanship criteria, and minimum training requirements for identifying suspect/counterfeit electrical, electronic, and electromechanical (EEE) parts. 

Prosemi has upheld the highest quality standards in all testing and assembly services for over 25 years. From the ability to conduct electrical testing across a wide range of components, across varying temperatures, large board and socket inventory, SEM, EDX, and C-SAM, Prosemi’s inspection and testing capabilities are unmatched. Following strict industry protocols, the company’s degreed engineers conduct detailed inspection and testing of components to verify their origins, authenticity, and quality. 


The Risks and Rewards  

Quality assurance is important to all industries, but some sectors require an even higher level of scrutiny and detail. Aerospace and defense, for example, is a sector that can’t afford to have a satellite break once it’s already in orbit or an airplane fail when it’s in the air. Automakers also run high risks when they don’t pay close attention to product quality, as evidenced by the over 1,000 vehicle recalls that took place in 2023 alone. Medical devices, testing and measurement equipment, and heavy industrial manufacturing are some of the other “high-risk” categories when it comes to electronics quality.  

Across all industries, the biggest risks of poor electronics quality are:  

The high cost of failure. If a part or component fails, mitigating and correcting the problem can get pretty costly. If a shipment of 5,000 motherboards has to be recalled due to failure, for example, then an entire manufacturer line will have to be shut down as those boards are reworked. The risks multiply as more inferior components are procured and used in a company’s operations.  

Time is money. Along with the high financial cost of failure, it also takes time to sort out the problem, make the necessary shifts, and get everything back on track. The time issue extends out to internal and external customers. For example, if a company has made a commitment to deliver a specific product to a customer, and if a product quality issue interferes with that delivery, then that customer can’t fulfill its own commitments. This can spill over into customers of customers, end users, and other groups that were relying on those final products. 

Brand reputation is everything. In a world where company and product reviews are at everyone’s fingertips and where messaging spreads like wildfire on social media, brand reputation is more important than ever. Unfortunately, when a component fails, everyone is going to hear about it and your company’s reputation will take a hit. And if the failure is catastrophic, it can quickly escalate into an even bigger problem that may not always be easy to address or remedy. 


Keep these points in mind the next time you place an order with a distributor that isn’t upfront and open with you about its stringent quality assurance and testing processes. Using rigorous vendor qualification processes, product testing capabilities and quality assurance commitments, Fusion Worldwide provides peace of mind for procurement professionals who only want to work with reliable partners that have their customers’ best interests in mind.  


Contact us today to learn how Fusion Worldwide can add stability to your supply chain. 


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