As we move our way into 2013, there is a sea of predictions offered, but what will actually happen is what will, naturally, make the year that has begun interesting and much of it unpredicted. So, in considering what the first article of 2013 ought to be the weightiness of what is really the most important and interesting topic to underscore is something I've been pondering much of this week. In the end, the simple yet ever-challenging topic of quality and trusted partnerships is where I've landed.
Anti-counterfeiting efforts increase
Anti-counterfeiting continues to be of utmost importance; from the US to the European Union, the present period is notably marked by the increased requirements for quality, security, and improved traceability in the form of the new US NDAA Section 818 legislation and the RoHS Recast. As Matt Hartzell, CEO, Smith, recently argued in his article on counterfeit mitigation in ComputerWorld, and in greater detail in his article on Quality Standards in the latest MarketWatch Quarterly (public release next week), "The key to [anti-counterfeiting] success rests with identifying who are trusted supply chain partners and how to best identify substandard parts."
As Hartzell argues, solid Quality Management Systems (QMS) are essential, business-internal processes and procedures upon which the most rigorous counterfeit mitigation strategies can be built. But beyond what the best, most trusted supply chain partners can provide in terms of testing, sourcing, and traceability, there is also the need for industry-wide agreements on defining what suspect, counterfeit, and fraudulent parts are (in order to levy punishments and enforce legislation appropriately). Furthermore, as Hartzell recommends in the ComputerWorld article, just as we have industry recognized standards and accreditations in order to evaluate companies, having "[m]ore precise definitions of what counterfeit means are needed to improve detection and removal of these illegal parts. Definitions focus on testing and properly classify parts."
Navigating 2013 with Trusted Partners
Combining supply chain agility with deeply entrenched, industry accredited QMS, alongside of the most sophisticated laboratory testing equipment is how Smith understands what it means to be a Trusted Partner. It is one thing to source product in today's global market, but to do so with the utmost care, attention, diligence, rigor and agility is our continued course in 2013. This message is echoed in Hartzell's conclusion to his MarketWatch Quarterly article:
At Smith & Associates our history and expertise is steeped in the understanding of solving real-world business challenges, pushing QMS standards to the next level, and keeping abreast of the latest legislative and regulatory requirements globally. As a result of this agility, we are able to provide a dynamic set of services that are rooted in industry-recognized certifications and accreditations while incorporating innovative yet standardized counterfeit mitigation processes, procedures and detection mechanisms through our sophisticated laboratories.