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Improving Quality with Inspector Certification Programs


Quality is a longstanding core value in Smith's 30 year history, and our quest to continuously improve and go beyond industry standards has lead our Quality Management Team to find the most stringent, thorough and well-informed testing paradigms for our inspectors. In early December, Smith proudly announced the certification of our headquarters' inspectors to the newly-developed CCCI-102 standard by Components Technology Institute, Inc. (CTI).

Counterfeit detection standards

The new CTI standard, CCCI-102, provides a formal program to train and certify inspectors who are employed by CCAP-101 certified independent distributors in the due diligence practices necessary to detect counterfeit electronic components. Smith's headquarters is one of these CCAP-101 certified locations and was honored to be CTI's first certification class for the CCCI-102 program, involving 31 of Smith's inspectors all of whom received certification to Level I of this new standard. Three advanced Smith inspectors went on to achieve the Level II certification of this standard.

Counterfeiters are continuously upping the ante and trying to penetrate our global supply chains, ensuring that purchasing and inspection processes are following the latest standards and then exceeding them is essential to successful counterfeit mitigation. Beyond ensuring that the distributor you are working with has certified and up-to-date trained inspectors and quality management processes, such as:

And that their facilities are certified to important industry standards such as:

Unified programs provide best risk management

Beyond the qualifications and standards, important to successful counterfeit mitigation is ensuring that the distributor you are working with actually implements these processes and procedures thoroughly and across the organization – internal transparency in addition to collaborative transparency with customers. Smith's quality framework, SmithSecure™, exemplifies the four key elements on which any best practices, supplier quality program is built:

  1. Know your sources.
  2. Certify inspection & testing processes.
  3. Sync customer needs with internal processes.
  4. Document operating procedures and incorporate them as part of the internal IT systems.

While having inspectors and quality engineers certified at the highest levels is important, and having facilities that meet and/or exceed industry standards for equipment and processes, and having business processes and procedures certified to industry best practices is an operational requirement, tying all of these together and ensuring conformity and integration of the knowledge, data, and practices is not found everywhere.

Integrating a high-quality framework enterprise-wide through codified practices ensures uniformity and reliability. With every department focused on quality, utilizing the same framework and information, internal and external collaboration can be achieved. The result is a more complete and precise approach to the inspection processes and Quality Management Systems (QMS) and directly supports counterfeit mitigation. Operations and vendor management systems need to be in place and tied together under a "Quality Umbrella" which unifies the goals and practices at Smith & Associates by ensuring the following:

  • Bring all departments together focused on one goal;
  • Require individual responsibility for quality in all tasks;
  • Ensure all processes & procedures are followed;
  • Operations & Procedures (O&P) delivers quality.

Unified, thorough, and industry certified practices are the best guides to determining if your and your distributor's counterfeit mitigation strategies are up to date and able to identify suspect or counterfeit parts and then know how to properly handle the situation. At Smith, we've long been at the forefront of not only ensuring the highest level of quality and control for our customers and at our warehouses, but also sharing those insights to continuously improve the global semiconductor and electronics supply chain for the betterment of all those involved.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 31 January 2014 09:45 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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