A worldwide epidemic of counterfeit electronic components is flooding the market and affects the supply chains of all industries. It is estimated that the financial loss due to counterfeit components is over $10 billion per year. Counterfeiting itself becomes profitable when scrapped components, components from recycled products or inexpensive components can be “remarked” and sold as a new, more expensive, higher reliability version. Much of the effort today has not been placed on preventing counterfeiting but rather screening components to identify and remove counterfeits before they are used in a finished product.
Product liability has created problems for manufacturers and product sellers for many decades. These problems have been exacerbated by the expansion of product liability laws throughout the world. In addition, there has been a proliferation of safety regulatory requirements, starting in the United States and then moving to the European Union. In addition, countries such as Japan, China, Australia, Canada, Brazil and South Africa have all recently established or strengthened their product safety regulatory regimes and requirements.
There are numerous reasons for the use of an external test laboratory by organizations developing, manufacturing or marketing electric or electronic products. These reasons may include lack of or limited testing capability, scheduling conflicts within the organization, etc. Whatever the case may be, the proper selection of an external third party test laboratory is critical since the test results may be used to demonstrate product compliance or to verify changes to a product design.
Most manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment have some sort of a regulatory compliance program. These may be part of the company’s internal procedures, a subscription to a compliance related database or various bits and pieces of information held by key people within the organization. No matter how complex or simple, it is imperative that management involved in global regulatory compliance issues have the right information needed to make their programs work efficiently.