Can you spot a fake?

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Any discussion of supply chain risk tends to focus on such things as natural disasters and supplier failures.

But, counterfeiting is a significant and growing problem in some sectors. The problem is highlighted in a survey by Smith & Associates, the US distributor of electronic components.

It points out that counterfeit electronic components have become a globally-recognised threat to the supply chain.

The survey of both manufacturers and distributors found that consumer electronics and aerospace and defence were ranked as the most vulnerable sectors to counterfeiting. Automotive, medical, industrial equipment, and energy sectors fell significantly lower.

So, how do you spot a fake?

Well most of the respondents in the Smith survey plumped for authenticity testing. Respondents underscored the importance of using accredited testing laboratories and qualified service providers in the semiconductor industry.

Government regulation was also seen as an effective tool. But perhaps most intriguingly was the emphasis on the value of RFID tagging in counterfeit prevention.

RFID technology has yet to fulfil the promise that it showed ten years ago when Walmart made it the next big thing. But, issues like counterfeit prevention could provide a new impetus to the technology.

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